Amazon acquires Whole Foods
The news shocked the retail world when Amazon announced last Friday it was purchasing Whole Foods for just under $14 billion. The online giant has been making waves to merge the divide between the online and in-store shopping experience for customers. The acquisition is the retailer’s biggest ever purchase and is proof that physical stores are still important in the digital era, providing customers with a personal shopping experience as well as delivering last-mile delivery solutions to customers.
Amazon has been defining the online shopping experience for consumers and has been leading technology advancements in better, quicker and faster order fulfillment for customers. Ironically the e-commerce giant has been expanding into physical locations, immersing itself into the brick-and-mortar business that it’s also disrupting. The big question, what’s in it for Amazon?
For starters this opens up possibilities for Amazon’s grocery service, AmazonFresh. With the natural food store bolstering 440 locations across the US many in prime locations this could be a great network for the delivery service
The plethora of Whole Foods locations could be a powerful weapon for AmazonFresh pickup, as it currently only has two locations since being unveiled in March. The purchase could also provide a larger selection of grocery items for AmazonFresh users as well as strengthen Amazon’s bargaining power with suppliers.
The acquisition also opens up possibilities for Amazon Go, a store concept that allows customers to shop and purchase items without a till. Using an app and a digital shopping cart that automatically identifies and charges items from the basket as customers walk out of the store.
Comparison shopping patent
Amazon has also secured a patent which gives the retailer the ability to prevent customers from comparing prices online when shopping in one of its physical stores. The technology is called “Physical Store Online Shopping Control” and identifies a customer’s internet traffic when logged into the stores WiFi network to control their mobile behaviour.
The technology gives Amazon the ability to implement one of several actions, preventing shoppers from using their smartphones to visit competitors sites or redirect customers to Amazon’s own site or to other Amazon-approved sites. Alternatively it might notify a sales person in the store to provide customer assistance or even send the customer an instant coupon via text message to entice the customer back into Amazon’s orbit and completing the transaction.
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