The online giant just unleashed a string of additional discounts at Whole Foods in the run-up to Thanksgiving on popular items like turkey, shrimp, eggs, salad mixes and sweet potatoes, among others, and framed the move as a “sneak preview” of what’s to come when its Prime membership program becomes the high-end grocer’s first rewards program.
John Mackey, Whole Foods’ cofounder and chief executive officer, said there’s “ongoing integration and innovation with Amazon” and that the companies are “just getting started” on what they can do together since Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition closed in August.
“In the few months we’ve been working together, our partnership has proven to be a great fit,” Mackey added. “We’ll continue to work closely together to ensure we’re consistently surprising and delighting our customers while moving toward our goal of reaching more people with Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food.”
Customer “delight” is a frequent refrain of Amazon founder and ceo Jeff Bezos, but the e-tailer isn’t ignoring the physical retail opportunity that Whole Foods and it’s more than 400 stores represents.
After slowly adding certain devices to the mix at some Whole Foods locations since the acquisition, Amazon said last week that its artificial intelligence-powered voice assistants the Echo and Echo Dot, as well as its Fire TV and Kindle e-readers, would be for sale in more than 100 locations.
Amazon will also be operating five staffed pop-up stores at Whole Foods in Illinois, Michigan, Florida, California and Colorado, focused on “holiday sales and entertaining,” but also offering services and demos of Prime and Prime Video, Amazon’s growing entertainment offering.
Entertainment also found its way into Whole Foods’ new holiday catalogue with actor Kristen Bell serving as the issue’s “holiday host.”
Amazon appears keenly aware of the value of traditional retail, and will likely further integrate its retail operations with those of Whole Foods if some recent retail tie-ups are any indication.
In September, Kohl’s revealed that it would be dedicating thousands of square feet in 10 stores around Los Angeles and Chicago to display Amazon’s wares and services, and later said it would accept Amazon returns at more than 80 locations.
Sears has also partnered with Amazon to sell certain of its smart appliances such as air conditioners, while Amazon would sell some Kenmore brand appliances online.
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