Amazon buying Whole Foods in bold move into brick and mortar

Amazon buying Whole Foods in bold move into brick and mortar

On top of the Whole Foods Market deal, Amazon has unveiled plans for a constellation of book shops around the U.S. - stepping in to replace the very bricks-and-mortar booksellers it drove out of business with its online offerings.

The company unveiled plans on Friday to buy upmarket United States grocer Whole Foods Market in a massive $13.7 billion (€12.24 billion) deal. Its stock fell as much as 20 percent within the first few minutes of trading before it rebounded and ended the day down 14 percent. Kroger's market value also stands at just $16.5 billion, so less than what Amazon is offering for Whole Foods. Wholesaler Costco lost $5.2 billion, while discount store Target said sayonara to $3.5 billion.

Now that Amazon is in the brick-and-mortar business selling books and groceries, who knows where it will set its sights next? And it should be able to bring cost-cutting technologies, such as robots to move inventory around, while the company gets a better picture of customers by marrying data from Amazon and Whole Foods' loyalty programs. The website cited an opportunity for the company to buy another entity with the logistics expertise to fill that said gap. This deal gives Amazon a major foothold in that space.

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Inside the stores, Whole Foods customers could see big changes, including easier checkouts. Whole Foods itself had launched an offshoot chain named after its "365" private label brand in a nod to the popularity of no-frills chains. Target and Aldi have also been introducing more discounts to compete with chains such as Walmart, which are known for low prices.

Whole Foods, which will keep operating stores under its name, said in an email to customers, that it will maintain the same standards under Amazon, including bans on artificial flavors and colors and antibiotics in hens producing its eggs. A strategy that lowers the prices on its high quality organic products could help it win more market share away from competitors, Eggers says.

The message is this: The brick-and-mortar retail business that pioneered organic, fresh food and the country's dominant e-commerce company makea powerful combination.

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Other stores are testing out tech-savvy approaches. Then it uses sensors, computer vision, and deep-learning technology to track shoppers and what items they pick up.

"This might be an opportunity for consumers who have felt that Whole Foods is inaccessible", said Lauren Beitelspacher, a marketing professor at Babson College in MA. These tech solutions are likely to become more common this year, according to the JLL report.

A crowded local grocery market became more interesting - and probably more competitive - as online retail powerhouse Amazon announced Friday that it will buy organic foods specialist Whole Foods, which now has stores in Washington Twp., Mason and Cincinnati.

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