Shopping for Consumer Data: Amazon and Whole Foods

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is giving the e-commerce giant a gold mine of consumer data. Boxever shares how brands can use offline and online data to enhance customer interactions.

Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. has been the talk of the town over the past few weeks. While many industry experts are commenting on the e-commerce giant’s latest foray into new territory, Amazon itself has kept relatively quiet. Last week, Amazon cryptically stated that the deal “is part of a broader experiment to test out different store formats.” But every experiment starts with a hypothesis, right?

Our hypothesis is that Amazon recognized the gold mine of consumer data that comes with this deal. And we aren’t the only ones with this line of thinking. Jeremy Stanley, vice president of data science for Instacart, recently pointed out “One of the wonderful things about groceries is that compared to other e-commerce purchases, groceries are habitual and frequent. People need groceries every week.” Amazon isn’t just acquiring a grocery chain; it’s acquiring data on consumer shopping habits, purchasing preferences and brand insight.

If a retailer understands its customer’s offline shopping list, its online engagements with them can be much more impactful. In Amazon’s case, acquiring data on Whole Foods shoppers gives Amazon insight into the shopping habits of an ideal buying group. Whole Foods is known for their steeper prices, so it’s not surprising that the typical Whole Foods customer has over $1000 per month in disposable income. These are consumers with money to spend, but they want to be targeted with the right offer at the right time. And while it may seem impossible to personalize for every individual shopper, retailers can use an intelligent platform like Boxever’s Customer Intelligence Cloud to connect their online and offline customer data and personalize all outbound customer communications at an individual level.

Personalizing for lifestyle choices is especially important for reaching millennials. A recent Nielsen Global Health and Wellness Report found that “younger consumers are most willing to pay a premium for health attributes.” Individuals that are spending money on meal planning courses and organic food might also enjoy receiving emails or mobile notifications from a retailer when yoga clothing or fitness equipment goes on sale. By understanding the customers’ behavioral data at the grocery store, brands can customize offers and discounts to fit the individual’s online shopping habits.

Offline consumer data can also enhance online advertising campaigns, as many brands still struggle with impactful targeting. It isn’t that consumers are completely ignoring ads: a Hubspot study found that 77 percent of consumers would prefer to ad filter than completely ad block. Boxever creates a complete profile of the customer by connecting data from offline and online channels and leverages AI to target people on the right channels with personalized content, increasing the likelihood of conversions and reducing overall spend. With a deep understanding of offline customer data from Whole Foods, Amazon will be able to create a more holistic view of the customer.