The expansion will bring Whole Foods to suburban and rural areas that it’s been adding customers in since it was acquired by Amazon in 2017. In the Rocky Mountain region, one person familiar with the plans told The Wall Street Journal, Whole Foods employees have visited potential retail spaces in parts of Idaho, southern Utah, and Wyoming, where the grocer doesn’t have stores now.
Amazon offers Prime Now, a two-hour delivery service to Prime members that serves more than 60 cities, and online grocery pickup from Whole Foods in nearly 30 cities. Amazon plans on expanding these services to nearly all of its 475 Whole Foods stores, according to The Journal. Amazon also wants to use benefits for Prime members to attract new customers to Whole Foods and draw them back more often.
Amazon’s planned expansion of Whole Foods shows the e-commerce giant has no plans to slow down its push into physical retail.
The company is increasingly moving into the physical world, opening spaces in malls, shopping districts, and even local strip malls. Its latest move is the Amazon 4-star store, which now has locations in New York City; Berkeley, California; and Lone Tree, Colorado.
One reason that may be, an anonymous source told CNBC last year, is that the company is seeing online sales go up in areas that have physical Amazon stores. Brick-and-mortar stores increase customer awareness of the brand, and it’s extra fuel for the Amazon engine.