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Small food makers wonder about Amazon-Whole Foods impact

Small food makers wonder about Amazon-Whole Foods impact

"I can only hope that having that status with Amazon will help us get into Whole Foods".

Even as more customers are clamoring for online grocery ordering and speedy delivery, many shoppers place high value on the benefits of going to a physical store. Amazon also could stock gadgets such as its Kindle e-readers and Echo speakers, as well as goods from its burgeoning private label. Big data will be right there with you.

For many, such rapid growth could make Amazon too big, eventually threatening independent businesses and local jobs.

A video of Amazon Go showed customers shopping in a hi-tech environment: no cashiers, no long queues, and no checkouts. A key question for many companies is whether Whole Foods would place less of an emphasis on buying locally produced and innovative foods in the future. "They're much more likely to acquire Everlane than, say, the

The Whole Foods CEO, who will keep his position after the deal closes, made those remarks in a "town hall" meeting with employees where he tried to share his enthusiasm for the deal and assuage employee fears.

Amazon is making headlines again this week with plans to open a real life store in Walnut Creek. A spokesman declined to comment on the company's strategy. Besides lower prices, Whole Foods brings it's vibrant stores, filled with beer and wine bars, to the table.

Questions are being raised about how Amazon's ownership may change staff numbers, wages and shelf prices at Whole Foods - including at its nine United Kingdom stores - given the online retail giant's interest in using in-store technology to ramp up automation.

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Amazon, though, doesn't know how those customers shop in stores - a gaping hole in data about its more than 300 million shoppers.

The possibilities surrounding Amazon's Whole Foods purchase are seemingly endless.

Amazon will soon enable lots of new retail experiences. Image source: Whole Foods.

He said the grocery business model is misunderstood - that most supermarkets don't make their money on center-of-store products, like cereals and packaged goods. Amazon's planned $13.7 billion acquisition of the organic and natural foods grocer signals a massive bet that people will opt more for the convenience of online orders and delivery or in-store pickup, putting even more pressure on the already competitive industry.

"From my point of view, long in the tooth time-series approaches to forecasting and analytics that inform pricing, assortment, promotion, and other demand shaping tactics have run their course", Greg Girard, program director of omni-channel retail analytics at IDC Retail Insights said in a statement a year ago. "At what point do they own the entire food chain, whether in equity or buying power?" he said. Additionally, Uniqulo offers customers a digital runway where they can try on clothes, show off a bit, and get a better visual of how they look in the clothing.

Social media snark has already skewered Amazon's almost $14 billion takeover bid for the dominant natural grocery chain Whole Foods. "Whole Foods is expensive enough". Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go?

"The possible effects on Whole Foods alone are interesting to contemplate", said Maute. "I go there for one thing and I come back with eight things and my bill is over $100 nearly every time", he said.

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