Amazon announced today they are officially launching discounts at Whole Foods Markets for Prime members.
Starting in Florida, members can now get an additional 10 percent off sale items, typically hundreds of products throughout the store, plus weekly deep discounts on select best-selling items.
These savings are currently available in all stores across Florida and will expand to all Whole Foods Market and Whole Foods Market 365 stores nationwide later this summer.
Prime members will receive these exclusive deals and savings by scanning their Whole Foods Market app at checkout.
Members will find the deals will be prominently featured in the store. Shoppers can also go to the Whole Foods Market app to learn about many of the best offers each week.
“We’re thrilled for Whole Foods Market to be part of the Prime experience. By offering greater discounts on sale items, and exclusive deals like $10 off a pound for sustainably-sourced, wild-caught halibut, launching savings for Prime members is an amazing opportunity to bring our industry-leading quality standards and delicious food to more customers at a better price.”
John Mackey, Co-founder, and CEO of Whole Foods Market
Reported Changes at AmazonFresh
Meanwhile, Business Insider is reporting that Amazon notified third-party vendors that effective May 31, they will no longer carry their products on the AmazonFresh platform.
In an email obtained by the publication through a vendor consultancy, the email states that the local program is transitioning to be more retail-based. Amazon will only be buying products wholesale and offer it to consumers as would be typical for a retail store.
In the email, Amazon says: “While this specific program is transitioning, there are many other ways for local merchants to sell on Amazon.” The email reportedly also encourages vendors to stay tuned for new options.
This could mean the company may offer some third-party vendors the ability to sell directly to Amazon for AmazonFresh or to Whole Foods Markets.
There is a growing opinion among some observers that Amazon maybe transitioning AmazonFresh to Whole Foods Market in areas where the grocery chain has coverage.
That is many of the major metro areas in the U.S., so it seems that AmazonFresh may be playing a diminishing role as Whole Foods Markets role out more delivery areas with Prime Now.
Late last year the service was already scaled back in some areas. And the Amazon executive in charge of Prime Now, VP Stephenie Landry, is also heading up AmazonFresh.
She was involved in founding AmazonFresh in 2006 before transitioning to other roles at Amazon. But it appears that AmazonFresh has again become part of her responsibilities with Prime Now.
Impact on Local Small Business Vendors
These changes seem to impact a small group of grocery vendors to Amazon leaving them a little in limbo while Amazon transitions their operations.
The news that Amazon is finally putting more links between Amazon Prime membership and Whole Foods Markets is good news. This should encourage more Prime members to shop at Whole Foods Markets and increase demand for high quality grocery products.
It also seems some of the early struggles to combine the two entities, and an issue with a new inventory system that was actually installed before Amazon bought the grocer, are being overcome and the merged companies are moving forward.
The changes at AmazonFresh in the U.S. seemed inevitable. Hopefully, many of the small business vendors that sold through AmazonFresh did not rely on the service as their main income and realized there was going to be change and made appropriate plans.
That is always a key problem when playing in someone else’s marketplace backyard that companies may make changes that have an immediate impact on sales.
Whole Foods Markets had a tradition of including many locally sourced products. There have been reports they scaled back some of that sourcing, but that may have opened up opportunities for vendors with other grocers who are keen to compete with Whole Foods Markets.
This transition for some local grocery vendors will require diligence to navigate the changes.
Some vendors may find a place in the new Amazon world, while others may have to look for other willing partners that may see an opportunity to better compete with Whole Foods Markets.
What is your take on Amazon’s grocery strategy? Head over to our Facebook Discussion Group or use the comments section below.