Amazon moves fast. Shortly after receiving the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's go-ahead that it can plow forward and purchase Whole Foods, the online retail company immediately dialed down prices at Whole Foods and began selling Amazon Echo smart speakers inside some stores.
These are just some of the early indications of how Amazon plans to utilize its newly acquired brick-and-mortar stores. More important is the fact that this is the first time Amazon will have the chance to expand beyond its online business.
Selling Echo devices in a physical store doesn't seem much of a revolution, sure, but it's still early. Who knows what Amazon could do with nearly 500 stores at its disposal?
Now That It's Part Of Amazon, Whole Foods Cuts Prices
Whole Foods slashed prices on popular produce such as avocados and apples on Monday, Aug. 28, Reuters reports. Some were cut up a third of their original price, perhaps in an attempt to get rid of Whole Foods's "Whole Paycheck" reputation over steep costs.
Bananas, for instance, are selling for $0.49 a pound, usually $0.79. Local grass-fed 85 percent lean ground beef is selling for $6.99, down from $10.99 a pound. Fresh Atlantic Salmon Fillet is selling for $9.99, usually $12.99.
Business Insider, which covered in-store price changes by directly going to a brick-and-mortar location, noted Whole Foods will never be the same. But everything seems to look the same as always, except that orange tags showing "Whole Foods + Amazon" logos littered everywhere, from posters to signs to price stickers.
Several stores have put up special kiosks displaying Amazon Echo devices, including Echo and Dot, which are available discounted for $99.99 and $49.99, respectively. Both, along with other Echo-branded and Kindle products, are part of Amazon's Back to School sale. They sell for the same price online until Sept. 4.
More Price Cuts In The Future
Both companies indicated last week that they would selectively employ price cuts starting Monday, Aug. 28. They also promised more price cuts going forward.
It remains to be seen how this impacts other retailers, such as Kroger, Costco, and Walmart. But it's safe to assume these competitors were already facing pressure the moment news of an Amazon-Whole Foods merger started surfacing.
At the moment, it's pure guesswork, but there's some concern Amazon will disrupt the grocery industry in the same way it impacted book and electronics sales.
That, however, remains to be determined. But it won't be much of a surprise if other retailers are already in panic mode.