Today, Amazon and Whole Foods detailed a new set of discounts (linked at bottom of story) for Prime members that involve price cuts on Thanksgiving items like turkeys and a whole slew of other in-house Organic 365 items and those from partnered organic brands. The discounts, announced on Whole Foods’ website and active beginning today, are more evidence that Amazon plans to leverage its $13.7 billion acquisition of the national grocery store chain to bring more value to its $99-a-year Prime membership, syncing the online and offline benefits of the program in unprecedented ways.
The press release says “this offer is a sneak preview of the special savings and in-store benefits Prime members can expect when Prime becomes the official rewards program of Whole Foods Market,” meaning we can expect Amazon to continue cutting prices at Whole Foods to make it more attractive to a wider range of customers. Now, in addition to cutting the price of turkeys at Whole Foods to $3.49 / pound and $2.49 / pound for organic and no-antibiotic varieties, respectively, Prime members will get an additional 50-cent discount.
In addition to the turkey discounts, Amazon is lowering the price on Whole Foods’ 365 line for items like chicken breasts, shrimp, canned pumpkin, organic broccoli, salad mixes, and sweet potatoes. There will also be reduced prices from Whole Foods partner brands, including Lundberg Family Farms, Eden Foods, Pacific Foods, Organic Valley, and Tom’s of Maine, and permanent everyday discounts on products from larger brands like Chobani and Applegate. These new discounts follow a widely publicized price cut back in August, immediately following the closing the acquisition deal, that brought prices down on Whole Foods favorites like organic eggs, bananas, butter, salmon, ground beef, and avocados.
It’s clear that Amazon sees Whole Foods as the physical, brick-and-mortar gateway into its customers’ lives, giving it both a potential distribution network for its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service and a brand name and retail hub with which to promote Amazon products and services. The company has already started selling its line of Echo speakers and Fire tablets in stores. Now that Whole Foods has access to the capital of one of the largest companies on Earth, one with a penchant for spending obscene amounts of money to edge out competitors, we can expect the grocery chain to take on an even larger role in everyday Americans’ lives as Amazon begins treating it more like the physical extension of its brand.