This dovetails perfectly into Amazon's plan to merge Whole Foods existing customer rewards program with Prime, while increasing the number of price cuts on products once it fully integrates Prime into Whole Foods' point-of-sales system.
In addition, Whole Foods' private labels, including 365 Everyday Value, Whole Paws, and Whole Catch, can now be bought through Amazon's Prime Pantry and Prime Now food delivery programs that are only available to Prime members. Conventionally grown bananas were also priced higher at Ralphs: 59 cents a pound, against 49 cents at Whole Foods.
Along with significant price cuts, customers may be startled to see a certain non-grocery item the next time they walk into Whole Foods: the Amazon Echo.
Monday's price slash is a "down payment on that vision", the release said.
An Amazon/Whole Foods spokesman told Fox News, "Echo's are being sold in select stores, but stay tuned for additional details in the next few weeks". Going forward, consumers should see more lower prices and perhaps new items on the shelves based on the online retailer's impressive ability to use data to determine what people want.
Amazon isn't the only online retailer reaching into grocery stores. Before this merger, Whole Foods struggled for years to shed its "Whole Paycheck" image, but Whole Foods' challenges were positive for other organic grocers, who were able to fill a niche for more affordable organic and specialty food products.
John Mackey will remain chief executive of Whole Foods and the company will operate as a subsidiary and continue to be headquartered in Austin, Texas, the companies said on Thursday.
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The companies displayed promotions for Amazon's Echo speaker in tongue-in-cheek fashion in the produce section of the downtown Los Angeles store, with signs reading "Farm Fresh" and "Pick of the Season".
The question remains how Amazon is capable of offering lower prices starting with day one of Whole Foods ownership.
This $13.7B transaction, Amazon's largest ever, marks its aggressive foray into the ~$700B groceries USA market, one of the segments least penetrated online, and where we believe Amazon brings several unfair competitive advantages, that should drive market share gains and better profitability.
Once managers and investors at these grocery chains feel enough pressure from a combined Amazon/Whole Foods behemoth, a wave of consolidation might sweep the sector.
The beginning, Amazon announced last week, would mostly mean lower prices on a few dozen food items.
There were also non-Whole Foods employees with the group wearing "visitor" stickers - perhaps Amazon employees helping manage the transition.
Whole Foods has more than 460 stores in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, and recorded sales of $16 billion previous year. Among the highlighted price cuts are salmon and tilapia.