Amazon’s Whole Foods slashes prices to shed ‘whole paycheck’ stigma

Brittany A. Roston - Aug 28, 2017, 1:45 pm CDT
Amazon’s Whole Foods slashes prices to shed ‘whole paycheck’ stigma

Grocery stores across the nation are unofficially labelled by consumers based on their prices, and the public perception of these grocery stores can heavily influence who shops there. Trader Joe’s is known for low prices and good items, Walmart perhaps more so for all around cheap goods, and Whole Foods — now owned by Amazon — is colloquially referred to as ‘Whole Paycheck’ due to its (now former) very high prices.

Amazon closed its acquisition of Whole Foods today, and as it had promised last week, the company has slashed a bunch of prices on items throughout the store. The move is one designed to eliminate the ‘Whole Paycheck’ stigma and encourage a larger customer base to shop there. The lower prices don’t appear to be applied across the board, though, at least not initially.

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Customers have found that prices are substantially lower on a variety of meats and produce, with some examples, as noted by Reuters, including a decrease in Fuji apple prices from $2.99 to $1.99/lb, among other things. Price cuts vary, with some hovering in the upper teens, others above 40%. This may prove a big deal for competing grocery stores in neighborhoods with Whole Foods.

Whereas before there was a clear divide between those who preferred to shop at Whole Foods versus those who shopped at cheaper places like Kroger-owned grocery stores, there’s little reason to choose one over the other now…at least when it comes to fresh foods. In at least one case, a Whole Foods grocery store has been observed selling some items for a lower price than a nearby Kroger-owned store.

In addition to lowering prices, Amazon has introduced its Echo devices into at least some Whole Foods stores. Customers now find displays hawking the Echo and Echo Dot home devices, exposing them to a larger number of customers…and perhaps even taking advantage of the impulse buying that often happens in grocery stores.

Amazon’s Whole Foods acquisition has given it more than 400 grocery stores throughout the US, plus more overseas. The company has been slowly entering the grocery market for years, launching things like Prime Pantry for ordering boxes of non-fresh food and household items. More recently, the company has unveiled a sort of smart convenience store that eliminates the need for (most) human workers, not to mention its fresh foods delivery service that is available in some big cities.

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