Mercoledì, 28 Giugno, 2017

Amazon's Whole Foods deal set to quicken grocery evolution

Amazon's Whole Foods deal set to quicken grocery evolution Amazon's Whole Foods deal set to quicken grocery evolution
Sveva Terracina | 20 Giugno, 2017, 01:16

Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN on Friday announced that it has reached a deal to acquire leading natural and organic foods supermarket, Whole Foods Market, Inc. The purchase would be Amazon's biggest ever. Amazon stock was still set to open higher on Monday morning despite the risk that it will end up paying more for Whole Foods than first reported. At the margin, if this move makes the current United States branded food players more likely to sell out to Kraft-Heinz, or catalyzes a reduction in stock prices that makes Kraft-Heinz more willing to engage with them, then this could be a good signal for Kraft-Heinz's acquisition prospects overall. It's expected that Amazon will integrate Whole Foods' inventory and online ordering into grocery services like AmazonFresh and Prime Pantry. "But given its massive buying power, Amazon could actually leverage its economies of scale to bring down prices in the aggregate and change this perception in ways that would make Whole Foods a lot more competitive".

That kind of cashier-less technology could help Amazon reduce its headcount as well, as Bloomberg cites an insider who says the company will be looking to cut staff to help save money on labor costs. Amazon then simply charges their account for whatever items they leave with. Amazon, which has tried for roughly a decade to crack the code on delivering fresh food, wants to change that. Busy people could walk in on their lunch break, pick up what they want and walk out without having to wait in a checkout line. Customers usually do this while connected to the Wi-Fi network in the stores. But by and large, the retailer has retained its "Whole Paycheck" image and nickname - and sales have suffered because of it.

In May, under pressure from Jana Partners, Whole Foods replaced five board members and its chief financial officer.

"That (Whole Foods 365) may become a big problem for Wal-Mart", Grant said.

But now Mackey, 63, one of the most successful traditional retailers of the past generation, is going into business with Bezos, 53, the man most responsible for turning traditional retail on its head.

Mackey helped grow the company from a tiny health-conscious grocer in Texas into a giant in upscale chain in all but eight U.S. states. Amazon recently started producing private-label food. He's still fighting Walmart, which joined forces with Jet.com in 2016, but now he's got Bezos on his side. He feels that they both have strengths to fight here, but life clearly isn't getting any easier for either company as Amazon's insatiable appetite grows. For example, when it comes to buying fresh food, we like to feel, see and touch the fruits and vegetables we're buying.


Whole Foods Market, Inc.

What other benefits might Amazon obtain? While Amazon has been experimenting with "grab and go" tech-enabled grocery stores for a while now, the huge acquisition of Whole Foods shows just how fast this concept could be a reality.

Amazon understands same-day - in major cities - and two-day delivery.

"Amazon and Whole Foods working together will give Whole Foods richer data and insight, opening opportunities for unique innovation, new ways to market to consumers and better insights when building brands". A closer look at these deals reflects that Amazon is pushing ahead with its e-commerce business outside the USA while putting more emphasis on the brick-and-mortar way in the U.S.

The Amazon merger is just another blow that reinforces these trends. Now that they have a retail presence with (more than) 400 stores, long-term they can expand on that threat. It is just part of the evolution of business that goes back to economist Joseph Schumpeter's idea of creative destruction.

What will it take for Whole Foods to settle? No company stays dominant forever.

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