Amazon’s influence on Whole Foods has begun.
Whole Foods employees were working late Sunday at multiple stores to prepare for their own “Day 1” as part of Amazon. Lower prices are the first of many changes Amazon is planning to make after completing its $13.7 billion acquisition of the upscale grocery chain Monday.
Amazon last week announced that starting Monday, it will lower prices of items at Whole Foods like organic bananas, brown eggs, salmon, ground beef, and more. It’s a quick and potentially impactful move given that Whole Foods is traditionally known for its high prices, earning it the sassy nickname, “Whole Paycheck.”
Workers gathered in big groups and moved around the Whole Foods store in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood Sunday evening, assessing items across different aisles. One employee told the group, “it’s going to be a long night.”
There were also non-Whole Foods employees with the group wearing “visitor” stickers — perhaps Amazon employees helping manage the transition.
The same process was going on at other Whole Foods stores.
— Neil Saunders (@NeilRetail) August 28, 2017
— Sara (@swoodie) August 28, 2017
In the future, Amazon plans to integrate its Prime membership program into the Whole Foods checkout process. Amazon will also place its Amazon Lockers package pickup machines in some Whole Foods stores, and make Whole Foods’ private label products available on its website, on AmazonFresh, on Prime Pantry, and Prime Now.
In addition to the lower-priced grocery items Amazon noted in its announcement last week, workers said this weekend that Whole Foods’ private label products — like those labeled with “365 Everyday Value” — will also be discounted.
The acquisition, first announced in June and approved by Whole Foods shareholders Wednesday, will give Amazon a massive physical retail footprint. Whole Foods, which started in Austin, Texas in 1980, operates 468 stores in North America and the United Kingdom.
The Whole Foods deal is part of Amazon’s growing grocery retail footprint, as the company also recently opened two AmazonFresh Pickup stores in Seattle and is testing the first checkout-free Amazon Go convenience store. The stores will likely also be home to many of the tech giant’s retail experiments. Amazon is also expanding its physical bookstores across the country.
Check back to this post on Monday morning for details about the price changes.