Amazon & Whole Foods: A Game-Changer for Customer Experience
The estimated $700-billion-dollar grocery business recently got a jolt when Amazon announced its intended purchase of Whole Foods Market. With more than 450 stores in the U.S. and UK, Amazon will be plunging head first into the physical world of commerce.
Why is this a game-changer for customer experience? Whole Foods is known for delivering the unique tastes and shopping experiences to its customers with a focus on locally and organically grown foods. Meanwhile, Amazon has already been testing the waters in its physical presence through AmazonFresh Pickup. With a vast distribution of new physical locations via the Whole Foods purchase, they are poised to amp up customer choice options when it comes to an enhanced grocery shopping experience for today’s consumers who want to buy anytime and anywhere.
Furthermore, Amazon already has the leg-up when it comes to competing on price and will likely carry its savvy price negotiating into its Whole Food operations. Traditional grocers that won’t have similar price bargaining leverage and distribution options will likely find it challenging to compete on Amazon’s level.
Beyond Grocery – Upgrading Technologies to Stay Competitive
This news goes far beyond the world of grocery. It underscores a sense of urgency for all merchants and retailers that need to re-examine their approach to modernizing the consumer experience.
If they can’t compete on price, distribution or product, how can merchants compete? The answer lies in what Whole Foods and several other retailers have already been focusing on: delighting the customer with unique and desired shopping experiences.
Merchants must examine the technology infrastructures they have today. The first step is eliminating silos supporting different shopping channels to find a single view of the customer. In doing so, merchants can more holistically develop offers and loyalty programs which best suit the needs of shoppers. With a centralized approach, merchants can leverage data for rich business intelligence designed to make the shopping experience unique and more personal for the customer. I mean, think about getting a mobile alert that your favorite steak (or chicken or fish) is on sale when you walk into your grocery store. Who wouldn’t love that?
As part of this technology review, merchants must re-evaluate payment options through all channels to ensure that today’s modern shoppers can easily and securely browse and make purchases via a host of payment types, including mobile, NFC and alternative payment types.
Having the right mix of products and goods at a competitive price will always be a driver of consumer behavior. At the end of the day however, consumers are attracted to (and will stay loyal to) the brands they feel are investing in them through a personalized shopping experience. And this will come from every touchpoint with the merchant, whether that be in physical or digital—and therefore must include payment options that make the buying process smooth, safe and satisfying.
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