Experiencing Amazon Prime Day this year will be like entering some Star Trek-ian alternate dimension of deep discounts, as the company is expanding it through both time and space. Amazon announced today that its big bargain bash will begin on July 16th at noon Pacific Time and last for 36 hours (up from 30 last year). And this year, it will move beyond the screen and into the real world with the inclusion of Whole Foods.
For the uninitiated, Amazon Prime Day is a play by the retailer to get people to flock to its site throughout the day to watch a steady stream of products they don’t want or need get marked down. (We recommend following The Wirecutter, which monitors the deals all day and alerts you to the genuinely good offers.) While the sale starts in earnest later this month, some Prime deals are already available on Amazon products like the Echo Show and for services like Amazon Music and Audible.
But for our purposes here at The Spoon, we are watching to see how Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired last year, will fit into the mix. Prime members already get free two-hour delivery and member-only discounts. According to the press release, on Prime Day Prime members will get an “additional 10 percent off hundreds of sale items throughout Whole Foods Market stores, and deep discounts on select popular products.”
All of this is important to consider as Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods cast a giant shadow over the entire grocery sector. Rivals like Walmart, Krogers and Albertsons have been forced to make their own partnerships and investments in delivery and logistics to try and fend off Amazon.
But Whole Foods isn’t just about selling food for Amazon; it’s also a venue for selling Amazon Prime memberships (which is already at 100 million subscribers). Adding Prime members fosters more loyalty and begets more sales at Whole Foods (and on Amazon), discouraging customers from shopping elsewhere. Additionally, Whole Foods stores serve as pop-up locations for Amazon to showcase its own technology, like the Echo line of Alex voice assistants… which can be used to shop for groceries by just talking. Or Amazon can use it to educate people about Amazon Ring smart doorbells and Amazon Key in-home or in-trunk delivery.
Further out, driving people to Whole Foods locations allows Amazon to collect even more data about its customers and their purchasing habits, which can be used and monetized through its various divisions. One also has to imagine it can surreptitiously take advantage of said data to further its futuristic cashier-less store technology.
The counter to all this, is how will the traditional Whole Foods customer react to this new dimension of Amazoninification? Will they be turned off by all the tech and Prime messaging?
And while in its own dimension Star Trek had its Prime Directive to not interfere with the development of civilizations, Amazon’s Prime Day is poised to keep growing until it becomes the basis for our new civilization.