If you’ve been wondering what the marriage of Whole Foods and Amazon will look like, we now have one clue that’s more tantalizing than a bundle of young asparagus. In the companies’ official wedding announcement today, their leaders announced how they plan to open up special deals at physical Whole Foods stores to subscribers to Amazon’s Prime service, and place Amazon Lockers in Whole Foods stores.
The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday that it would not pursue an investigation of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. The upscale grocer’s shareholders approved the acquisition earlier this week, which means that there’s nothing standing in the companies’ way, and the deal will close on Monday, Aug. 28. Starting that day, there will be a few changes introduced at Whole Foods stores, the companies said.
Tilapia and baby kale for everyone!
Instead of implementing its own rewards program and discount card, Amazon Prime will become the discount and loyalty program for Whole Foods stores. Prime costs $99 per year or $10.99 paid monthly, and $5.99 paid monthly for members who receive certain government benefits for people living in poverty.
Whole Foods stores will discount a variety of basic healthy foods. A partial list of items that they provided in the announcement is Whole Trade bananas, organic avocados, organic large brown eggs, organic responsibly-farmed salmon and tilapia, organic baby kale and baby lettuce, animal-welfare-rated 85% lean ground beef, almond butter, organic Gala and Fuji apples, organic rotisserie chicken, and the store’s own brand of organic butter.
What Amazon hasn’t announced yet is how this will work. Will Prime members be issued cards, will they have virtual cards that live as a smartphone barcode on the Amazon app, or will they log in to their accounts on checkout terminals? Will they spell out their email addresses for cashiers?
After the deal officially closes on Monday, the two corporations will skip joyfully hand-in-hand through fields of kale and fulfill their joint vision. That vision, they explain in the announcement, is “making Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food affordable for everyone.”
Amazon will also eventually begin to sell Whole Foods’ house brands on the main Amazon site and through Prime Fresh and Prime Pantry. Those brands include 365 Everyday Value, Whole Paws, and Whole Catch.
This isn’t the first time that Amazon has brought Prime pricing out into the real world. Amazon also does this in its small physical bookstores, where Prime members pay a mysterious price that they must look up with a smartphone, while everyone else has to pay the publisher’s suggested price.