Amazon, Wholefoods And A Grocery Future
By Paul Grimsley
I am sure the latest news about retail groceries is sending shockwaves through the industry. Existing stores must be wondering if the same kind of apocalypse that swept away the brick and mortar book stores is now on the cards for them as well.
Amazon has been making in-roads into the groceries market for a while, but the $13.7 Billion they are spending on Wholefoods represents a real commitment to moving on that sector. Wholefoods 365 stores already took significant steps towards building the kind of store one can imagine Amazon building themselves, so the purchase makes a lot of sense.
Is it going to be good or bad for the consumer? Well, it is probably going to be exactly as it was for those who shifted buying some of their products from the highstreet to the online retailer in the past — a mixed bag.
I haven’t really heard too much about monopolies being broken up of late, and one has to wonder with the current administration if that function of the government will ever be put into play.
I shop at Amazon; I have a Prime account. It’s cheap and it’s convenient. It isn’t that I wouldn’t shop local for everything if that actually made sense. Who doesn’t live their life with something of a time-crunch constantly in effect? And that time-crunch is most often in place because of having to work so damned much, so of course it has economic roots too; so those same people are going to be looking to save money. Amazon promises both.
Same Day Delivery, a shopping hub that you can speak to, the facilities to source pretty much everything, and the ability to crunch data to make the whole thing more efficient that outstrips pretty much everyone apart from Google. Amazon are uniquely poised, when they decide to go after a commercial sector, to dominate the thing.
We are used to thinking of the “now” as an environment marked by disruption, but in the tech sector this disruption seems to work to point out a new direction of niche which technology can conquer, and then the start-up which built the road sign gets absorbed into the body of one of the tech giants. Amazon, as a tech giant, is a disruptor in the retail market, in media production, pretty much any field it shows an interest in — it is aiming, it seems to become the ubiquitous shopping experience for everything and everyone.
What stands in its way? Overstretching itself? A consumer revolt? There doesn’t seem much at the moment that is capable of knocking the monolith over — even the talk of working conditions at Amazon have done little to rock the boat.
I like dealing with Amazon customer services. I like the ease of purchasing things on there. I like Createspace. There is a lot to like. Is it perfect? No. Is the idea of everything being corralled under the Amazon brand comfortable? Not particularly, but this Wholefoods thing feels like it could be good. We’ll have to see, but I am sure Amazon will hit the ground running.