5 Takeaways From Amazon’s Purchase of Whole Foods
Surprised? It’s just the beginning.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Jeff Bezos' Amazon is acquiring Whole Foods at $42 a share--that's an enthusiastic 27% premium to its closing price yesterday. What does this mean for you? Here are some early takeaways about what this major acquisition could mean for business--and for you personally.
1. Amazon dominating groceries
"They will now dominate food," spluttered a surprised Jim Cramer, hosting CNBC's The Street this morning. "They will now dominate food in the next two years." He went on to say, "This is a reordering. What this says is Amazon wants to do for food what they did for every other part of retail."
2. Say goodbye to your local big box grocery store
Dennis K. Berman, Wall Street Journal financial editor, reacted on Twitter: "Amazon did not just buy Whole Foods grocery stores. It bought 431 upper-income, prime-location distribution nodes for everything it does."
Cramer agrees. "This is a threat to everybody who sells food because you can't compete. Amazon--they will not let you compete." Stock price fell for many major grocery companies on the news, including Walmart, Target, Costco , SuperValu and Sprouts.
While this looks like tough competition for large grocery operations like Kroger, Publix and the like, it's also a big opportunity for entrepreneurs and companies in agriculture, logistics and supply chain.
3. Say hi to your local farmer
What Amazon has always lived by is creating customer-first mentality, and in food supply, there is lots of room for innovation. Having Amazon "at the table" in food brings a number of opportunities:
- Revolutionizing the food supply chain
- Changing the logistics model around food transportation
- More directly connecting the customer to the crop--which could be the impetus our agtech sector needs to fully thrive.
Irv Grossman, executive VP Americas for multinational logistics consultant Chainalytics said, "Amazon will provide innovation and while at the same time placing extreme profit pressure on the traditional grocery segment." Or he joked, in other words, ""Drone me some brussel sprouts."
4. There will be more innovation around healthy lifestyle
Whole Foods is not the only green on Amazon's thumb. The company is developing the Spheres, a 3,000 species wilderness with WiFi. Bezos is also busy at Blue Origin, where the motto is, "EARTH, IN ALL ITS BEAUTY, IS JUST OUR STARTING PLACE." (All caps original.)
So what does this mean for you? Well, WSJ financial editor Berman just mused on Twitter, "What will Amazon look like when it is broken apart in 2025? Commerce, Web Services, Media, Logistics Services, AI, Genomics? What am I missing?"
5. Applied artificial intelligence
But one of Google's fresh challenges is now Amazon just substantially increased its physical presence and also its slice of the American wallet by going for high end grocery. Amazon's forays into artificial intelligence will be better informed by a major stake in groceries, which is something people consume daily and locally. This move strategically positions Alexa against Google Assistant in a very serious way, which will create more interesting innovation as Amazon and Google go more directly head to head in AI. "Alexa, what are my options for getting grassmilk today?"
Looking to the future: pharma and healthcare, look sharp
It's also looking like pharma and healthcare may be increasingly appealing to Amazon's appetite. Health is a major driver for Amazon's customers and an area where their increasingly large footprint would make a major difference.