Let the speculation games begin.
Now that the waters have calmed after Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, many are beginning to wonder how the eCommerce giant will potentially change the grocery store chain’s operations.
One of the operational areas getting a lot of buzz involves questions about Amazon’s technology replacing employees in the stores. While both companies are keeping mum on whether technology will play a role in the possible shift of the grocer’s employee operations, some are guessing that the initial change we’ll see will be in Whole Foods’ distribution supply chain center warehouses.
Given Amazon’s penchant for warehouse automation, this may be a likely avenue.
Gary Hawkins, founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Retail and Technology (CART), commented on this possible change in a Bloomberg interview.
“The easiest place for Amazon to bring its expertise to bear is in the warehouses, because that’s where Amazon really excels,” said Hawkins. “If they can reduce costs, they can show that on the store shelves and move Whole Foods away from the Whole Paycheck image.”