The deal, first announced in June, is particularly significant in this market because it represents the first time Amazon, an Elite retailer in IRUK Top500 research, will operate stores in the UK: Whole Foods Market stores in this country are in London, Cheltenham and Glasgow. As yet, Whole Foods Market does not operate online ordering in the UK although it does in select US cities.
Amazon says that as of Monday it will be lowering prices for some grocery staples in store at Whole Foods Market, including organic bananas, responsibly-farmed salmon and eggs. Work will also start on a perhaps more significant part of its business: integrating Amazon Prime into store point-of-sale systems, in a move that will make the subscription scheme Whole Foods Market’s loyalty scheme. Once that is complete, Amazon says Prime members will get in-store savings and benefits.
Over time the US giant aims to enable lower prices for Whole Foods Market customers through investment in merchandising and logistics.
“We’re determined to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone,” said Jeff Wilke, chief executive of Amazon Worldwide Consumer. “Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality – we will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer. He added: “This is just the beginning – we will make Amazon Prime the customer rewards program at Whole Foods Market and continuously lower prices as we invent together. There is significant work and opportunity ahead, and we’re thrilled to get started.”
John Mackey, who co-founded Whole Foods Market and will continue to lead it as chief executive after the deal completes, said: “It’s been our mission for 39 years at Whole Foods Market to bring the highest quality food to our customers. By working together with Amazon and integrating in several key areas, we can lower prices and double down on that mission and reach more people with Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food. As part of our commitment to quality, we’ll continue to expand our efforts to support and promote local products and suppliers. We can’t wait to start showing customers what’s possible when Whole Foods Market and Amazon innovate together.”
Whole Foods Market products will be available online via Amazon.com, AmazonFresh (pictured), Prime Pantry and Prime Now, while select Whole Foods Market stores will have Amazon Lockers. Customers will also be able to pick up their Amazon online orders at Whole Foods Market stores, or return orders via a store.
New stores are set to open over time while the retailer says it will also expand its support for local farmers and artisans.