On June 16, E-Commerce giant Amazon announced their acquisition of Whole Foods, an upscale organic grocery store chain, at an impressive $13.7 billion price tag all paid in cash. The strategic move on Amazon’s part vastly expands their presence as a physical retailer by capitalizing on a popular grocery chain brand. Amazon aims to build and maximize the value for Whole Foods by applying their core business model of bringing the highest quality, best customer experience and delivering with innovation all into new territory.
Amazon has been preparing for such aggressive expansion behind-the-scene as it recently launched test sites of a new retail concept “Amazon Go” which includes a fresh take on self service payment solutions whereby consumers can leave the store without going through a cashier or checkout aisle. The mobile app for the store automatically scans items and makes purchases once the customer leaves. The experimental store signifies Amazon’s move to a more digitalized shopping experience even in a physical environment for consumers. These new approaches to shopping could very well translate into Whole Foods implementing innovative self service payment solutions at their stores in the near future. At MONEXgroup, we see a big future in self service unattended payment solutions as a technology pioneer with our own unique Contactless Only payment solution for unattended vending applications. We look forward to seeing what Amazon will bring to the table via their grocery endeavour.
A Deeper Look at Amazon’s Innovative Technologies
Since Amazon went live in 1995, it has evolved from a simple online bookstore to many more facets, including online groceries, e-readers, digital music downloading and gaming. Currently, Amazon has a wide array of new technologies in its pipeline. Here are a few examples:
The Dash Button acts as a single-function controller that users place around the house. Each button corresponds to a household necessity. When the user is running low on a product (for example, toilet paper, toothbrush, or toothpaste) they push the appropriate dash button to restock. The product, in the quantity preset by the user, will arrive at their home in no time.
Amazon Go is the up and coming grocery store concept that Amazon has beta tested and may soon launch through Whole Foods, created with the intention of providing the world’s most advanced shopping experience coupled with innovative technology.
How does Amazon Go work?
The checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. All the consumer needs is an Amazon account, a Smartphone and the Amazon Go app. The one of a kind Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and it keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store without visiting a cashier for settlement. Shortly thereafter, Amazon will send their customers a receipt on their app.
Amazon Alexa is an intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon, accompanied by the Amazon Echo (a smart speaker) and the Amazon Echo Dot devices. Alexa is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing everyday essential news. Alexa allows users to activate Smartphones, Tablets and smart watches using a “wake-word”; other devices (such as the Amazon app on iOS or Android) require the user to push a button to activate Alexa’s listening mode.
What does Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Mean for the Retail Industry?
Advances in technology and lifestyle have trained consumers to raise expectations of the services we get. Nowadays, we expect everything to be simple and basically having our personalized preferences handed to us. Many brands become obsolete as they cannot accommodate to this need and fail to adapt to consumers’ requirement of instant gratification.
The biggest casualty in this upward trend of instant gratification is traditional brick-and-mortar retail, because this business model is susceptible to obsolescence it if cannot live up to consumers’ changing demands and many former powerhouses have closed down as a result.
The decision by Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, to acquire the Whole Foods grocery chain was a smart move for the E-tailer in that they cherry picked the most lucrative grocer in the industry at the moment. Whole Foods is particularly appealing because they are niched, focusing on health-conscious shoppers who are willing to pay a premium for organic natural foods that are free from additives, artificial colours, preservatives and flavours. It’s a shrewd move on Amazon’s part as it encompasses both companies’ strengths. Whole Foods is capable of sourcing the best produce and Amazon is amazing at inventory management, supply chain, pricing and forecasting. This combination can potentially create a challenge for the rest of the retail industry.
The mere fact that Amazon is buying a traditional brick-and-mortar grocer like Whole Foods is going to be a game changer for grocery chains. With the background of Amazon in continued innovation and development new technologies, it will no doubt be implementing those cutting-edge technologies at its new stores. Consumers shopping at Whole Foods should soon notice new self service payment solutions versus conventional checkout points plus other interesting and advanced technologies (Amazon to Acquire Whole Foods. What Does That Mean For Retail?).
Some experts in the retail industry have commented that the acquisition of Whole Foods will give Amazon an opportunity to cut the operating costs and reduce prices so that they can cater to a less affluent group of consumers. As a matter of fact, Amazon has been collecting data on how consumers buy groceries since 2014. The data shows that nearly 70% of the 2600 consumers surveyed want to use connected devices to improve the efficiency of their shopping experience. Therefore, it is very likely that Amazon and Whole Foods could accelerate the growth of their grocery stores by making it easier for consumer to shop. This is especially true for millennials who want a stress-free convenient lifestyle. They are not just looking to shop for groceries in-store or online, but they are looking for that extra-mile experience where the grocery store offers interactive cooking tips, expanded selections of prepared foods and even a cafeteria where they can enjoy their food immediately with friends and families (Amazon and the Retail Industry) .
History of Self Service Payment Solutions
1880’s – It was believed that the first vending machine was invented around the 1880s, where it was a small stand that offered small products such as gum, postcards and stamps.
1947 – Gas pumps became one of the first self service payment solutions as the invention allowed people to pump their own gas without waiting for an attendant to get serviced.
1992 – Price Chopper released the first self-checkout kiosk and self service payment solutions have continued to evolve and expand.
Since the recent arrival of self service payment solutions technology and widespread adoption in the Canadian market, MONEXgroup has been at the forefront of this trend. We have been consistently improving our POS solutions to support self service payment solutions particularly for unattended environments and remain a market leader. We are proud to have launched and successfully deployed North America’s first self service payment solutions that feature our exclusive Contactless Only technology! MONEXgroup is the one and only payment processing company in Canada that integrates Tap Only unattended self service payment solutions technology into any kiosks or vending machine with PCI certification for Visa payWave, MasterCard Tap & Go, Interac Flash and Mobile Payments such as Apple Pay and Android Pay.
Why MONEXgroup for Self Service Payment Solutions and Technology?
MONEXgroup’s industry leading self service payment solutions are currently rolling out at over 6,500 gas stations across Canada. Our partnership with the primary air pump manufacturer and car vacuum supplier has proven to be effective as their customers are enjoying the simplicity and the convenience that our unique Tap Only outdoor self service payment solutions can offer. Our partner was looking for a Contactless Only self service payment solutions technology provider who is not only innovative but also takes their customers’ concerns as their number one priority. Implementing self service payment solutions for collecting payment was an essential requirement for our partner because their machines are exposed directly to Canadian outdoor elements, so MONEXgroup’s weatherproof technology proves to be ideal because our Contactless readers are fully sealed to withstand the harshest winter conditions. We have also expanded our self serve payment offering into the coin carwash industry and laundromats, where coins are no longer required. Similar solutions for vending machines, parking, ticketing, transit, gaming, charities, and many other industries are now coming to fruition…the possibilities are endless!
When partnering with the number one Canadian merchant services in Canada; MONEXgroup will increase your efficiency and quality of service and lower the related costs. Request a Cost Comparison Analysis today.
Author: Lindsey Lu, Marketing Communication Specialist, MONEXgroup
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