Amazon bought Whole Foods last year for around $13.7 billion, in a deal that was actually shocking to much of the industry. But it also meant that Amazon was getting into the physical store business, a business that Amazon had all but killed in the past decade. Since the acquisition, a number of Whole Foods executives have left the company, but the founder and CEO, Jeff Mackey is still there. Mackey isn’t in control of the integration of Whole Foods and Amazon though, but he is working alongside Rosanna Godden and Heather Dystrup-Chiang – both of which are Amazon executives – to make sure the transition is smooth.
CNBC reportedly has viewed and organizational chart from Amazon, that shows the priorities for the company. With many executives having left Whole Foods already – and likely more to come – Amazon is stacking Whole Foods with veterans of Amazon, so that the grocery chain can be weaved into Amazon Founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos’ broader vision of future physical retail stores. Amazon has already done this with online shopping, making it super easy to shop online, and has also done the same thing in the IT market with AWS. So now, Amazon is turning to physical retail, which Amazon has already begun doing with its store that is in Seattle that doesn’t have actual checkout lines, or people ringing up your groceries. Amazon likely won’t transition all of Whole Foods 484 stores into stores like that anytime soon, but it does show where Amazon is headed.
While Amazon is huge online, in fact it is the largest online retailer, it is clear that it is looking elsewhere to expand – and keep its shareholders happy. Amazon has already begun using its Whole Foods stores as a way for Amazon Prime members to get select items even faster than using Prime Now – which isn’t available everywhere yet. It has also used these stores to offer some discounts to Prime members, so it’s obvious where Amazon is headed in the immediate future with Whole Foods, but the future should be pretty interesting.