retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Yahoo Finance reports that “Amazon is working on the consolidation of Amazon Prime Now and AmazonFresh … The merger of these two consumer retail business units could eventually streamline a delivery experience for Whole Foods Market, which the company acquired last year … The ongoing effort to combine Amazon Prime Now and Amazon Fresh is expected to be completed by the end of this year.”

The consolidation effort is said to be behind the previously reported layoffs of hundreds of employees in some parts of the business, which got more attention than aggressive hiring taking place in other parts of Amazon’s business.

The story notes that “the merge started at the leadership level. Stephenie Landry, vice president and head of Amazon Prime Now, also leads AmazonFresh and Amazon restaurants, as reported by Re/code last December.”

In other news about how Amazon is simultaneously streamlining and building synergies in its services, Re/code reports that beginning today, “Whole Foods shoppers who pay with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card will earn 5 percent back at the grocery chain’s US stores … Amazon customers who aren’t Prime members, but who pay with the regular Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, will earn 3 percent back.”

The story points out that “the company is hoping that the perks will get more Prime members shopping from Whole Foods, and get existing customers to shop more frequently. Amazon also likely saves some money on credit card fees when Whole Foods customers pay with one of its branded cards than with another credit card.”
KC's View:
None of this can be unexpected. Amazon has a lot of weapons, and it is going to aim them judiciously and strategically as the days and weeks pass.

Amazon can hit you with a combination, then an upper cut, then force you against the ropes while it pummels you, and then can just play rope-a-dope if it wants, preferring to simply wear out its competitors. To compete with this, one has to have an incredibly strong value proposition, as well as strategic imperatives and tactical moves that truly differentiate them.