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Erasing the barriers between online and offline business: Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods

par Florence27 April 20180 commentaires

An Interview with Florence di Nicola, Marketing Director at Alkemics, for

Will this acquisition transform the grocery retail sector?

FdN: Amazon has already transformed the retail sector over these past few years. The advent of new technologies and the arrival of online pure players has changed the status quo. In 2001, Amazon was in 157th place on Deloitte’s list of the world’s largest retailers. They held 6th place in 2016.

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market last year will significantly boost their development in grocery retail, a retail sector in which Amazon has historically been less present. 
But above all, this brand acquisition hints at a new vision of retail: the lines between online and offline commerce are being erased. The consumer is everywhere — they are “multi-device” and multi-channel! Companies need to reach them at all contact points, throughout the entire purchasing journey. Amazon is aware that not 100% of purchases are made online (especially when it comes to groceries and fresh foods). Over the past few months, the pure player has already been reimagining bricks-and-mortar stores, with innovations such as checkout-free stores and Amazon lockers. The synergies between the worlds of online and offline business are becoming more apparent, and can also be seen in other initiatives such as the opening of More Mall, Alibaba’s first shopping centre, in China last year, as well as the e-commerce collaboration between Walmart and Google Express. A large-scale transformation is underway, and lines are being erased.

What were Amazon’s motivations behind this grocery sector acquisition?

FdN: This acquisition of this network of stores will enable Amazon to increase the agility of their supply chain and delivery system, relocating their warehouses to be closer to consumer hotspots near municipalities. Thanks to the large network of Whole Foods Market stores (460 stores in North America and in England), Amazon will be able to offer an undoubtedly competitive grocery retail model. 
The acquisition of Whole Foods also offers Amazon access to their well-informed and quality-focused customer base, and will allow them to capitalize on the American grocery brand in order to develop their new grocery offering. Amazon has also clearly stated their desire to make organic and natural products more accessible to everyone via this acquisition, so we can expect a small transformation in the organic food sector, which has historically been led by specialty retailers selling typically premium-priced goods.

Who will benefit the most from this new trend in omnichannel retail?

FdN: Traditional market players are becoming aware of the importance of developing omnichannel strategies in anticipation of future changes. They should base these on what has worked for them in the past: their expertise in offline retail, bricks and mortar stores, and knowledge of the customer experience. Those who will benefit the most are those who who are able to address changing consumer expectations —such as a diverse offering, local products, and increased product transparency — via an omnichannel approach, while offering the highest possible quality of service. 
In the future, success will depend on companies digitizing, optimizing and streamlining their product listing process, which will enable them to offer accurate and detailed product data, developed with both online and bricks and mortar retailers in mind.

 This is especially important in specialty food sectors such as the organics sector, in which companies mainly market their offerings to consumers who like to stay informed about the products they purchase.


Après 10ans d'expérience dans les équipes commerciales, category management et marketing de grands groupes industriels (Beiersdorf, Colgate Palmolive), Florence a rejoint la start-up Alkemics à ses débuts en apportant son expertise métier retail. Elle accompagne désormais le développement et la promotion de la plateforme en tant que directrice marketing.

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