Amazon.com Inc.'s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market could spawn massive renovations among the high-end grocer's 465 stores in North America. The Whole Foods deal gives Amazon an opportunity to scale its checkout-free convenience store and grocery delivery services using existing space in the stores, according to consultant Kyle Hutchins, senior director of customer experience at West Monroe's Seattle office.
Amazon will look at building mini distribution centers into some of the Whole Foods stores through redesigns that expand "backroom" space and shrink shopping areas, he said.
The mini fulfillment sites would feed Amazon's expanding grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh, which is currently available in 21 metro areas in the U.S.
What retail space remains in the Whole Foods store could incorporate Amazon's small convenience store concept, Amazon Go, which eliminates checkout lines by allowing shoppers with an Amazon Go app to grab what they want from the store and walk out.
"You could see a conventional shopping store on one side, Amazon Go on another side and a distribution center in the back or some combination of the three," he said. "The biggest challenge for Amazon will be the physical store space and figuring out how they move that around."
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