Whole Foods Market announced that Amazon devices, such as the new Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV, Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets and others, will be sold through Amazon pop-up shops in more than 100 Whole Foods Market stores around the country, according to a Whole Foods press release.
Amazon Pop-Up stores will open at Whole Foods Market stores in Chicago and Rochester Hills, Mich., on Nov. 13; Davie, Fla. and Pasadena, Calif., on Nov. 14; and the new Union Station store in Denver on Nov. 15.
Also, in a separate move, Amazon is putting the management of its AmazonFresh and PrimeNow delivery efforts under executive Steve Kessel, who also took the reins of the recently-acquired Whole Foods after that deal was completed in August, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Whole Foods is not an electronics store, but this move shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, as typically aggressive Amazon looks for ways to take advantage of the brick-and-mortar footprint that Whole Foods already has in place. Amazon is just starting out on its own adventure in establishing brick-and-mortar stores, but the grocer it just acquired has over 400 stores in the U.S. and elsewhere. It's an opportunity Amazon isn't going to let pass.
Will it be jarring for consumers in the coming weeks to be confronted with staffed pop-ups featuring Kindles and other devices while they're on the way to pick up their organic, free-range turkeys for Thanksgiving? Possibly, but pop-up stores have become so common that it shouldn't have too much of a negative impact — and some shoppers will likely appreciate the opportunity to pick up the turkey for dinner and a new Echo for that special someone on their Christmas list at the same time.
Whole Foods and Amazon are counting on it, and the pop-ups will showcase Amazon's pre-Black Friday deals on its recently expanded device family, including $20 off the Echo Dot, $20 off the Amazon Echo, $30 off the new Echo Plus, $30 off the Kindle Paperwhite, $20 off the Amazon Cloud Cam, $20 off the Fire 7 tablet and $30 off the Fire HD 8 tablet.
Regarding the executive move, Kessel's election could be an attempt to pursue a deeper integration of Whole Foods, AmazonFresh and PrimeNow, which would make a lot of sense if the companies are already pursuing these kinds of cross-marketing opportunities. Amazon is already adding a Whole Foods storefront to its website and listing Whole Foods products for delivery through AmazonFresh, although it did recently pull AmazonFresh out of some markets.
Given the latter, we could expect more integration happening behind the scenes in the supply chain and back office areas. At a higher level, it also makes sense to have the same leader in charge of all three just to make sure that these initiatives, which share some overlapping interests, move forward in a coordinated way.