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19 Junio 2017, 11:12 | Dolorita Barahona
What happens to Instacart in the Amazon-Whole Foods deal?
Instacart: It's a trailblazer all right, offering delivery at a time in the United States when very few grocery stores did.
The Whole Foods purchase improves Amazon's odds and speeds up the timeline. Whole Foods gives Amazon a tremendous amount of credibility around the quality of the food and the reputation they have with their customer base.
Peter Belanger of Newington calls himself an "Amazon person" who uses two Kindles, but said he and his wife will not likely shop the internet for food. Certainly, it would appear to Cantillon that Bezos sees the future as slightly more nuanced than the vista of couch-bound online shoppers ordering everything from fast food to films online. Whole Foods CEO John Mackeyhad lambasted the hedge fund as "greedy bastards."
Amazon already offers grocery-delivery services in five markets, but analysts say expansion is tough because its current distribution centers are set up for dry goods, not perishables.
Cooper Smith, head of Amazon research at L2, said it's likely that Instacart will be the loser in Friday's deal. "Why would it keep Instacart?" said Smith.
For traditional grocers, like Kroger, this purchase makes the market even more price-competitive, she added. Note, though, that one of its investors as well as partners is Whole Foods, either shaping Amazon to be a shareholder or Instacart as an acquisition target itself. The activist hedge fund had been pressuring the grocery chain to make major changes in its management or find a buyer.
Hartmann said he expects the online retailer to introduce some efficiencies to Whole Foods' operation. However, Whole Foods does not have access to Instacart's financial numbers and analytics.
Drew Herdener, an Amazon spokesman, said in a statement the company has "no plans to use no-checkout technology to automate the jobs of cashiers at Whole Foods and no job reductions are planned".
Instacart and Whole Foods did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Some workers at the nonunion grocery chain wondered whether Amazon, known for its hard-driving culture, would mean big changes to their pay, benefits or employment.
That, in turn, could help Amazon do better with pricing and promotions, branding and the overall store experience, said Robert Hetu, a retail analyst at Gartner.
"Walmart took their step first, which was acquiring Jet.com (and) recognizing their need to move into that space", Hartmann said. It is made out to be an Amazon rival with its market size and current valuation of $3.4 billion. On Friday, WalMart announced it is buying men's online clothing retailer Bonobos for $310 million.
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