Amazon’s Purchase Of Whole Foods Could Mean No More Cashiers
Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, "The only thing that is constant is change." In 1963 Bob Dylan penned his classic song "The Times They Are a-Changin'". But neither could have foreseen change on a scale and pace like we are witnessing in the Internet Age.
On Friday Amazon announced that it was buying the 400-store Whole Foods chain. (The Shreveport location of the upscale grocery store opened just this past November at Fern Marketplace, 1380 E. 70th Street.) The deal was for a whopping $13.7 billion and gives Amazon a brick-and-mortar presence that has Target and Wal-Mart shaking in their boots.
According to a forecast released earlier this year by the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen, online grocery customers in the U.S. could be spending more than $100 billion on food-at-home items by 2025. The purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon is great for consumers as most experts believe the merger will allow Whole Foods to reduce prices which will make them more competitive with discount retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco.
But it's bad news for cashiers. There probably won't be any in Whole Foods, although Amazon is officially denying this will be the case. But if you watch the video that Amazon did recently for their nascent Amazon Go brand which is being beta-tested with Amazon employees, you'll see there are no cashiers. The Amazon system can monitor shoppers as they come in the door, record what they buy, then charge their Amazon account. There's no check out--you just grab the stuff you want and walk out the door.
While this seems like freaky science fiction stuff to many of us, Millennials see it as just another way technology is making their lives easier and grocery shopping more convenient.
Here's another thought. Could this be what the $15-an-hour minimum wage movement has wrought? Don't be surprised to see this same technology at your favorite fast food restaurant soon.