Shopper Marketing - August 2017 - 29
AMAZON BUYS WHOLE FOODS ... WHO'S NEXT?
o one believes that Amazon's shopping spree ends with Whole Foods.
So who's next? Given Amazon's strength in pharmaceuticals/OTC and
stated desire to further own the essentials trip, an even bigger fish
than Whole Foods - a major drug chain, such as Walgreens or CVS - may be
next on the buyout list.
"Walgreens has a much larger footprint, but culturally, CVS is probably closer to Amazon," says Catapult's Heidi Froseth. A precursor move could be a
buyout of a well-known pharmacy benefit provider like Express Scripts, she
adds. Amazon is also likely to look for targets within the dollar channel as a
means of expanding its consumer base. "Amazon wants to grow its audience,
and since the middle class in this country is unfortunately disappearing, that
growth has to come from either the high or low end."
But first things first: The Whole Foods deal has to go through. Some analysts
believe that a rival bid could come from Walmart, both as a defensive move
against Amazon and as a way to expand the retailer's appeal with higherend customers. No serious antitrust issues have been raised to this point, although there have been some general rumblings in the media about whether
Amazon is "getting too big."
Bigger isn't always better, but one suspects that in Amazon's case, it will be.
chants) who may not have the appropriate tools or experience. Working with Amazon requires specific skills, for example,
to analyze sales data that is typically not
broken down along traditional category
lines. "You need guidance from people
who can navigate Amazon's online portal and who understand its search algorithms in order to optimize detail pages,"
says Edwards. For example, in household
products, adding more specific search
terms related to product benefits (e.g.,
"gentle on all surfaces") can drive incremental search results. "It's important to
understand and leverage the specific
benefits that shoppers are looking for in
your category," says Edwards.
Amazon as Media Vehicle
Industry experts advise brands to think
of e-commerce as a marketing channel,
not just a conduit for sales. That is particularly true for Amazon, which often is
underestimated by marketers as a media
AUGUST 2017 SHOPPER MARKETING y