As the news broke today that Amazon is buying Whole Foods for more than $13 billion, the industry began buzzing about what such a huge acquisition means for retail. The fact is, Whole Foods, while wildly popular, still struggled with the pressures felt by all brick and mortar retailers today—namely, the need to continually innovate and evolve along with the constantly moving landscape. The push for online, local and organic grocery has contributed to the competitive market.
But, this move proves what we have been saying for years: brick and mortar isn’t dying. Amazon, a leader in the online retail space, has set up multiple initiatives that reflect the need for brick and mortar stores. They created Amazon Go, they launched Amazon Books at a time when traditional book stores were on the outs, and now they are realizing that in the world of CPG and grocery, shoppers want in-store experiences.
It goes to show that brick and mortar will continue to evolve, in big ways. Which is why now more than ever it’s important to have in-store strategies that will help create forward-thinking, innovative shopper experiences. Whole Foods will now benefit from Amazon’s technology model, and technology is going to be the main player in the success of brick and mortar going forward.
We in the space can no longer put blame on online or delivery services as the reason for slacking sales. Because it’s no longer about e-commerce vs. brick and mortar—it’s truly a “shop everywhere” world now. The difference will stem from those who understand what shoppers want and need, vs those who don’t. Those who can work efficiently through the use of revolutionary technologies, and those who are using outdated business methods. Amazon is showing us that right now, technology is winning.