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Amazon made a huge splash this morning, announcing plans to acquire Whole Foods for a whopping $13.4 billion. It's a bold move for the e-commerce powerhouse, signaling its growing dominance in the grocery industry.
“This is an earthquake rattling through the grocery sector as well as the retail world. We can only imagine the technological innovation that Amazon will bring to the purchasing experience for the consumer," Bankrate.com senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick told Slickdeals via email.
Amazon is known for infusing the grocery shopping experience with forward-thinking tech. Its Seattle-based Amazon Go storefront (currently open to Amazon employees in Beta form) lets customers shop without having to checkout. Amazon's "Just Walk Out Technology" leans on a mobile app to create a virtual cart that charges your Amazon account once you leave the store.
Today's news has everyone wondering if we can soon expect the same experience in Whole Foods stores. An Amazon rep told The New York Times that the company has no plans at this point to use this kind of technology at Whole Foods. But will that change? It's a legit question that would revolutionize the Whole Foods shopping experience, especially since Whole Foods will continue operating its stores after the deal closes. Either way, Hamrick sees the partnership as a win for consumers.
“This will be a good deal for consumers, including those who might not have been doing business with Whole Foods in the past, either because of its positioning in the organic branding space or because prices have been seen as high," he said in an email. "Amazon can be expected to work to deliver better value to grocery customers, both online and within the brick-and-mortar space.”
In other words, Amazon might be on the way to offering cheaper organic groceries.
So what does this mean for AmazonFresh? The grocery delivery service—which charges $15 a month, in addition to the annual $99 Prime fee—allows for seamless online ordering in Seattle, Northern and Southern California, New York and Philadelphia. Will Whole Foods products join its offerings? We're assuming the answer will be yes, but time will tell.
Also See: Amazon Fresh Review: Is It a Good Deal?
What do you make of the big news? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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