Whole Foods Market has informed customers that it is shutting down its rewards program, which will most likely be folded into the Amazon Prime program.
According to Market Watch, the national grocer sent an email to members stating that the loyalty program will end, and all online accounts will be closed, on May 2.
“Stay tuned for additional announcements for Amazon Prime members,” reads the Whole Foods FAQ page focused on digital coupons, rewards and online accounts. “Any account benefits, including membership and/or unused rewards, will not roll into any future programs.”
Amazon has implemented several changes since acquiring Whole Foods last year, such as price cuts on certain items and 5 percent cash back on purchases when Whole Foods customers pay with the Prime Rewards Visa.
“Such news of Whole Foods Market’s point of sale finally being married with Prime, which would allow for Amazon to obtain greater purchasing insights and accelerate its strategy conveying value to core customers with unique offers, heightens competitive pressures for all grocers, in our view,” said Jefferies analysts.
One of Amazon’s biggest grocery competitors will surely be Walmart, and price comparisons for the month of April so far showed Walmart beating Amazon on price.
“The price for April for the same like-for-like branded basket of 35 items at Walmart was $127.02, $18.70 cheaper than the $145.72 basket at Amazon,” analysts wrote in a Tuesday note. “Since we began this portion of our pricing study, the Walmart basket has been cheaper 20 out of 23 months.”
With that in mind, Amazon is looking for ways to offer Whole Foods shoppers better prices. Just last month it was reported that the grocer displayed signs that advertised 10 percent discounts for Amazon Prime members at a store in Texas.
The signs were reportedly placed in a store in Austin on Wednesday (March 28), but the signs had apparently been removed by Thursday (March 29). One of the signs read “blue signs mean special deals just for you, yes you,” while another sign said that Prime members can save 10 percent over “hundreds of sale prices.”