On Wednesday night, shoppers at an Austin, Texas Whole Foods spotted signage indicating special deals and a 10% discount on sale prices for Amazon Prime Members. The signs were gone by Thursday morning; however, the trial indicates that integrations between Whole Foods and Amazon may include perks for Amazon Prime members.
Ingesting Amazon’s digital loyalty sophistication into Whole Foods allows the company to achieve customer loyalty across channels as more shoppers continue to explore digital grocery offerings. In 2016, Jeff Bezos stated it was Amazon’s goal to make not joining Amazon Prime irresponsible. Whole Foods discounts for Prime members can motivate additional shoppers to sign up for Prime, and also drive existing Prime members towards Whole Foods locations.
Furthermore, Prime can potentially enhance Whole Foods’ limited loyalty offerings. Currently, Whole Foods doesn’t allow shoppers to access their purchase history, nor does it offer a credit card or paid memberships; Amazon offers all these loyalty functionalities. Though it remains unclear whether Amazon Prime shoppers will receive a discount at Whole Foods, loyalty integrations are already in place: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card holders receive 5% back on purchases made at Whole Foods.
Other grocers in L2’s inaugural Digital IQ Index: Grocery have also struggled to integrate online and offline loyalty. Within the Index, 29 grocers abdicate delivery to Instacart and 19 of them don’t offer any brand-owned grocery delivery experiences. Though nearly all of these grocers offer a loyalty program for in-store shoppers, less than half allow Instacart shoppers to access the loyalty program, failing to drive shopper loyalty on multiple channels.
Grocers under the Kroger umbrella partnering with Instacart exhibit a model strategy. For example, Ralphs allows shoppers to access Instacart from the grocer’s own domain, login with Ralphs credentials, and use their brand-owned loyalty cards. Grocers developing brand-owned digital grocery offerings and partnering with Instacart should consider Amazon, Whole Foods, and Kroger brands’ approach as a model for approaching multichannel loyalty.