Despite the fact that it began testing delivery services for produce and pantry items ten years ago, Amazon did something last month that few were expecting.
They bought a grocery store chain.
The purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion gives Amazon 460 physical store locations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. It also gives them instant credibility in the grocery industry and a 1.6% market share of the $800 billion U.S. market.
Do the math on that one, folks. As long as they keep the status quo, they’ll make $12.8 billion of what they spent in the first year alone. Granted, most of that will go into operating costs and the profit margin in the grocery industry is notoriously slim.
But this is Amazon we’re talking about, not some investor group or another grocery chain. They’re one of the most innovative retail companies in the history of the world. Which means that we should be prepared for grocery shopping and the industry as we know it to change forever.
So what does this mean for enterprise Wi-Fi?
First, let’s talk Amazon Go. Amazon is currently testing the most advanced shopping technology on the planet in their Amazon Go store in Seattle, Washington. While it’s currently only open to Amazon employees Beta testing their Just Walk Out Technology, the potential is incredible.
Simply check in with the Amazon Go app when you enter the store and using the same technology that keeps their self-driving cars on the road, the store keeps track of everything you pick up in a virtual cart. It even keeps track of what you put back and removes it from your cart. When you’re done, just walk out. Whatever groceries you carry out are charged to your Amazon account and you’ll be sent a receipt.
No more lines. No more waiting. No more keeping track of cash or credit cards.
Until we get there, we still have to shop the old-fashioned way. And by old-fashioned, I mean we have to log into a store’s Wi-Fi network where we’re offered instant discounts and coupons. Plus, Whole Foods already has an app for offering more savings.
But it’s not just the physical stores that could change the way we shop. The new Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa and their Dash Buttons makes ordering groceries online easier than ever. And with 25% of American households currently buying groceries online, experts are predicting that we’ll be spending $100 billion on deliverable food by the year 2025.
That’s a lot of organic apples, people.
Of course, we haven’t even talked about their drone delivery service. They’ve already filed a patent for a beehive-like tower that would serve urban areas with drones and more traditional truck deliveries and self-service pick up areas. And with urban retail areas beginning to merge their Wi-Fi networks, drones will become more frequent and more accurate in their deliveries.
Plus, don’t forget about Amazon Fresh, where you can order your groceries from your phone, drive to the store and have them delivered to your car in as few as 15 minutes after you place your order.
Let’s face it. Amazon changed the way we bought books. Then they changed the way we shopped at Christmas. So why should grocery shopping be any different? It’s the Age of Amazon and their impact on the industry and Wi-Fi enterprise within it is only just beginning.