Friday morning, Amazon announced that it will buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, shaking Wall Street and plunging the shares of grocery chains and big-box retailers.
This would be Amazon’s biggest acquisition by a long shot. Whole Foods has over 460 stores in the U.S., Britain and Canada, and may be a bellwether of the online giant’s expansion into physical retail.
Just last year, Amazon launched their beta Amazon Go, the Amazon brick and mortar grocery store sans check-out lines that presents a completely new model for retail. This was accompanied by patent applications for Amazon’s model of sensors and payment that would create a cashier-free retail experience.
Will we be seeing a large-scale roll-out of the Amazon Go system via Whole Foods? What does Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods mean for the future of grocery stores and retail?
Joe Dobrow, former marketing executive for Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market and other natural markets; author of the book, “Natural Prophets: From Health Foods to Whole Foods” (Rodale Books, 2014)
Brad Stone, senior executive editor for technology at Bloomberg News; author of “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” (Little, Brown and Company, 2013)