Amazon continues to develop its Whole Foods business

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CNN Money reports that Amazon customers in its Prime program have gotten another benefit. Prime Members will get an extra 10 percent discount on groceries when they shop at Whole Foods, This discount will be on top of the 5 percent discount that customers will enjoy when they use the Amazon.com Prime Visa card. Customers claiming the 10 percent discount will use the Whole Foods app to scan in at the checkout.

similar to what customers do with discount cards at other grocery chains. The discounts start in Florida and roll out nationwide later this summer.

The discounts, combined with price cuts enacted since Amazon bought Whole Foods last year, make shopping at the formerly upscale supermarket chain very attractive to the 100 million Amazon Prime members, even considering the recent increase for the annual fee to $119. Another service that Whole Foods is rolling out is two-hour home delivery of groceries, something that other supermarket chains are starting, a service that could change the way we shop for food.

Amazon is studying a technology that would eliminate cashiers and long checkout lines. Customers would have a smartphone app that would register them when they enter a store. Every time they picked up an item and placed it into a cart, the cost of the item would be added to a virtual shopping list. When the customer leaves the store, the cost of the items taken out would be automatically deducted from the customer’s credit or debit card. The system would not only save time but could reduce shoplifting.

It should be noted that Amazon has no plans (at least for now) to roll out this new technology to Whole Foods, according to a recent story on the NBC News site. Nor do they envision the system as a way to reduce labor costs. Cashier jobs would be shifted to customer service and staffing kitchens that make ready-to-eat food.

 

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