The purchase of Whole Foods means a completely new landscape. It’s clear that online and offline are merging faster than most imagined possible but what does this really mean? By purchasing Whole Foods, Amazon marks the beginning of the end of retail as we’ve known it. Or maybe it signifies the beginning of the retail industry, as it should be.
Amazon has had a leg up on most other retailers since day one as it approaches consumer drivers in a more scientific way. In the Amazon world, every transaction is recorded, every buyer is known, every inventory movement is known, and perhaps more importantly, every possible next order can be suggested based on what visitors buy and browse. This playbook, based on the belief that all data must be collected, analyzed and used, is drastically different from retail’s traditional way of thinking and has allowed the brand to excel in unbelievable measures. While data is the core commodity driving the billion dollar merger, it strikes us that the vast majority of retailers are at a significant disadvantage to Amazon when it comes to data collection both in terms of volume and their ability to make it accessible and actionable to drive sales. Until a few weeks ago, retailers held a unique advantage in their offline operations, while e-commerce is the fastest growing segment of retail, 90% of purchases are still made offline. The data from stores, including point-of-sale systems, has the opportunity to be a great equalizer. Unfortunately, few retailers have moved fast enough to make this data accessible and actionable while Amazon is rapidly expanding due to its immediate access to its customer’s data and utilization of such.
We can all learn something from this acquisition which is that data can create better marketing leading to a better all around experience for consumers. Through data, Amazon predicts what consumers want and need and then markets relevant products immediately and effectively. Brilliant.