Amazon’s quest to rid Whole Foods of its pricey “Whole Paycheck” image continues apace: This week the company unveiled forthcoming new in-store discounts for Prime members, including an additional 10 percent off a rotating selection of hundreds of already-on-sale items. The discounts begin at stores in Florida this week; a national roll out is expected by this summer.
According to a press release, Prime members will also get “weekly deep discounts on select best-selling items” — think half-price halibut steaks, 50 percent off cold-brew from the in-store coffee bar, and buy-one-get-one-free on Whole Foods’ house brand sparkling water. Per Reuters, some analysts believe the new discounts “could make Whole Foods cheaper than conventional grocers” for Prime members.
To get the discounts, shoppers can either sign in to their Prime membership via the Whole Foods app and scan it at checkout, or provide their phone number at the register after linking it to their account. The additional discounts aren’t yet available to everyone, though: Today they’re being rolled out at Whole Foods locations across Florida, and will be expanded to all Whole Foods and Whole Foods 365 stores nationwide starting this summer.
Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey hinted that more cuts were coming.
“Whole Foods is going to become more and more and more competitive,” Mackey told Reuters, though how that will effect the grocer’s suppliers remains to be seen.
Since acquiring Whole Foods last year, Amazon has steadily rolled out new benefits for its Prime members: Members get 5 percent back when they use their Amazon Visa at Whole Foods, and free two-hour grocery delivery in the 10 cities where it’s currently offered.
While the steeper discounts are likely to reduce profit margins at the grocery chain, the New York Times cites a Forrester Research analyst who says Amazon’s real focus is fortifying the benefits of its Prime memberships — the price of which was recently hiked from $99 to $119. Amazon currently has more than 100 million Prime members.
• Amazon Serves Up New Benefit for Prime Members at Whole Foods Market [Press Release]
• Next Up at Amazon-Run Whole Foods: Half-Priced Halibut Steaks [NY Times]
• Amazon Cuts Whole Foods Prices for Prime Members in New Grocery Showdown [Reuters]