When upscale natural grocer Whole Foods Markets was acquired by e-commerce and logistical powerhouse Amazon, most observers knew that there would be synergies. Amazon gets access to more brick-and-mortar locations, a higher-end customer base for its more expensive products, as well as significant penetration into the lucrative natural/organic products supply chain. Whole Foods gets an industry-leading parent, a stronger e-commerce presence, access to more customers, and the ability to leverage Amazon's incredible logistical expertise to tighten up its distribution channels and lower its price points. So how is it all working out?
Things are going smashingly, thank you very much, as both entities appear to be benefiting from this acquisition. Progress has been slow and sure with Whole Foods only now adding online grocery pickup to its menu of services. Amazon prime members already have access to lower prices at the natural grocer, and so the next logical step is to provide pick-up points for those who order online at Amazon.com and don't want delivery.
In what has become an industry standard for what is now known as "click and collect", there are parking spaces reserved for on-line pick-ups but, at an increasing number locations, staff are available to bring the orders to the cars, adding another major element of convenience to the whole process. For those customers willing to fork over an extra five bucks, orders are fulfilled in less than 30 minutes. The service is free if you are willing to wait an hour.
At present, only about 15% of digital food and beverage sales are picked-up by the customer, but marketers have found that having customers pick up their orders is actually more profitable than delivering them. Thus there is an incentive for marketers to encourage immediate gratification in their marketing communications. And since consumers now have the option of not only ordering whenever and wherever they want, but also now have more options in terms of taking possession of the goods, it looks like everyone is benefiting from these sorts of innovative marketing practices. Indeed the manner by which goods and services are delivered continues to evolve, and Amazon, for its part, continues to find creative ways to exploit these largely technological developments. In doing so, marketers are able to make compelling brand promises and delight their customers.
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