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One month in, what’s changed at Amazon’s Whole Foods?

The online giant is already making its mark at the organic grocery store chain

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Amazon has officially owned Whole Foods for a little more than a month, but changes started taking shape only days after shareholders and federal regulators in the U.S. approved the US$13.7 billion deal.

Here’s a quick look at what’s happened so far.

Price cuts

Its first day as owner of Whole Foods, Amazon slashed prices at locations across the Greater Toronto Area. The price of organic avocados, for instance, dropped from $2.25 each to $1.49 each. In the U.S., a half-gallon of milk was 50 cents cheaper at a Whole Foods in New York, and ground beef was down by $2 a pound.

Brand reps are banned

Starting next year, Whole Foods will reportedly no longer allow brand representatives to promote their products in store or check how their products are merchandized. A Whole Foods spokesperson interviewed by The Wall Street Journal said the move was meant to improve efficiency. Having brand representatives in-store can also be distracting to employees, she said.

Centralized buying/merchandising

Whole Foods executives from head office will select a greater percentage of products and brands sold in store, according to The Wall Street Journal. Previously, brands would pitch their products to specific stores or regions.

Deeper discounts for Prime members

Amazon is integrating point-of-sale systems that, in part, allows members of its $99-a-year Prime program to receive special savings and in-store benefits. Amazon Prime will eventually replace Whole Foods’ current loyalty program.

Whole Foods products are sold at Amazon.ca

Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value and Whole Paws private label products are available through Amazon.ca. In the U.S., a wider range of private label products are for sale online, and lockers have been added in some Whole Foods locations so Amazon shoppers can pick up or return e-commerce orders.

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