Amazon’s bid to change the grocery industry opened with a huge splash: Enormous price cuts, up to 43%, at Whole Foods. But the question is, did it work? It turns out that the data says it did. In fact, it did so better than anybody imagined.
Bloomberg has a report from Foursquare, the app that lets you “check in” to locations. Foursquare compared Whole Foods check-in data over time, and the numbers say it all:
Amazon.com Inc.’s splashy takeover of Whole Foods, complete with deep price cuts, did more than bring a surge of publicity to the chain: It boosted customer traffic by 25 percent. The data, culled from shoppers’ mobile devices, was compared with the same period a week earlier.
Short term, Amazon had to prove it could get more shoppers inside the door of a struggling chain. It’s effectively done that with lower prices. The question is where the company goes from here. Amazon is, after all, a company that delivers things, and secures customer loyalty with subscriptions. We haven’t yet seen what it plans to do with Prime, Amazon Fresh, or its delivery capability. And we’ll still need to see what it can do after the hype dies down and people begin shopping normally again. But it’s already managed, in short order, to turn around Whole Foods’ struggling fortunes. The entire grocery industry now finds itself wondering where they’ll go next.