4 Ways an Amazon-Powered Whole Foods Will Disrupt Supermarket Chains

And most of them are really bad

The new one-two punch may knock grocery stores out. Sources: Getty Images, Amazon
Headshot of Christopher Heine

Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of high-end grocer Whole Foods is expected to be official on Monday. On Thursday, the Seattle-based ecommerce giant revealed that Whole Foods’ prices will come down noticeably because of its new parent, which sounds really bad for other grocery store chains.

We spoke with a handful of digital marketers to see what other kinds of effects an Amazon-powered Whole Foods would have on the competition.

Here are the four things we heard most often:

Other grocery stores’ tech may pale in comparison

“Amazon will only continue to enhance the Whole Foods shopping experience moving forward because the tech giant is always implementing and looking for new ways to combine digital commerce capabilities with the already strong brick-and-mortar presence of Whole Foods,” said Ed Kennedy, senior director of commerce at Episerver. “Amazon announced upcoming features like adding [365 by Whole Foods] products to Amazon’s website and through fast-delivery services like AmazonFresh, PrimeNow and Prime Pantry. With these new features, Amazon is leveraging a new digital experience with products consumers already know and buy every day.”

Walmart will become their aspiration

“Traditional grocery stores like Safeway and Kroger would be wise to look to Walmart as an example of how to stay relevant,” Kennedy said. “In recent quarters, Walmart has double downed on its ecommerce and in-store digital strategy. The retail giant has deep roots in brick and mortar but has adapted to the growing need for digital commerce capabilities such as mobile payment options, click-and-collect and same-day pick-up perks and added inventory for online shoppers. Features such as these will put Walmart and other retailers in a strong competitive position in the future.”

They will have to appeal to consumers’ hearts

“To compete with Amazon and Whole Foods’ convenience and quality, more traditional retailers will need to provide an emotional connection to retain customers and earn their loyalty,” said Kate Hogenson, strategic loyalty consultant at Kobie Marketing. “Many grocery shoppers still enjoy picking out their produce and browsing the meat section at their local supermarket, and retailers like Kroger and Safeway would be smart to ramp up their in-store consumer experience to create that personal connection.”

Their Gen Y game just got even harder

“Millennials especially love Amazon because of the way the retail tech giant makes it easy to engage with their products and services in their daily lives,” said Erin Gade, marketing strategist at Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “In our recent consumer survey … we found that millennials are more likely than any generation to have made a purchase on Amazon in the past month [79 percent], touting its Prime benefits as the reason for doing so. And, 63 percent of consumers of all ages have made a purchase on Amazon in the past month.”

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.