In this file:
· Will Amazon Reduce Whole Foods’ Local Sourcing?
· Amazon says Australia launch imminent ahead of spending season
· Amazon is selling parts of its cloud business in China for up to $301 million
· Is Whole Foods Market Becoming the Next Target?
· Amazon or Walmart? Some retailers are choosing alliances
Will Amazon Reduce Whole Foods’ Local Sourcing?
Move to streamline may be a marketing boon to rival grocery chains
By Joan Voight, Adweek
Nov 13, 2017
Since Whole Foods came under the yoke of Amazon three months ago, most of the buzz has been about cheaper prices and beefed up delivery service. But what about the grocery brand’s identity as a welcoming haven for locally produced fruit, veggies and other foods?
Experts expect a seismic shift in the way the chain treats its local offerings, which, ironically, could help brick-and-mortar rivals worried about Amazon’s presence in the space.
You can see change in the wind.
In his public statements about the acquisition, Jeff Wilke, Amazon worldwide consumer CEO, said Whole Foods is “determined to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone. We will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards.” No mention of local.
By October, the Whole Foods website focused entirely on sale items, digital coupons, recipes, delivery options and customer stories. A mission statement on the site echoed Wilke. Again, nothing about local.
A Whole Foods representative denied news reports from September that the company plans to centralize decisions about locally sourced products (Whole Foods traditionally made those decisions regionally), but acknowledged the chain is looking for more efficiency. “Our ongoing work helps streamline processes that ensure each store has the best curated selection of local and national products.” The goal is to “ensure local suppliers are represented in categories where they will be successful and positioned for growth,” she said. In mid-October, news broke that new stores in Denver and Park City, Utah, will include space for branches of locally owned cafes.
That same month, Whole Foods hired MullenLowe to articulate the brand as a burgeoning, tech-oriented, convenient, affordable, yet hometown player.
In contrast, other grocery chains are racing toward local food producers, armed with a truckload of recent research showing food shoppers are in love with local...
Amazon says Australia launch imminent ahead of spending season
By Byron Kaye, Reuters
via Euronews - 13/11/2017
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O> is “really close” to opening in Australia, its country manager said on Monday, as the U.S. e-commerce juggernaut prepares to shake up an already-fragile brick-and-mortar retail sector in the world’s No. 12 economy.
While Amazon did not give an exact start date, the remarks from Rocco Braeuniger suggest the company will ship goods from its first Australian warehouse in time for the end-of-year holiday season, a moment seen by analysts as a tipping point for Australia’s staid retailers.
“Let me tell you we are getting really, really close,” a jeans-wearing Braeuniger told about 600 prospective product merchants at an open day on the Sydney waterfront, held to encourage merchants to sell on its website. Since confirming plans to open in Australia in April, Amazon has signed up “many thousands” of sellers, added Braeuniger, who relocated from his native Germany for the role in August.
Australians can already buy Amazon products from offshore, but having a warehouse locally cuts sometimes sizable international shipping costs, adding to pressure on retailers already struggling with the overheads that come from maintaining shopfronts and employing checkout staff.
Earlier this month, Australia’s top department store chain Myer Holdings Ltd <MYR.AX> cut its growth targets, citing weak trading conditions, while rival David Jones recently contributed to the first profit decline in eight years for its owner...
Amazon is selling parts of its cloud business in China for up to $301 million
Amazon is selling parts of its cloud business in China to its partner Beijing Sinnet Technology
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is selling "certain physical assets" but said it still owns the intellectual property for its cloud services
The U.S. e-commerce giant said it is committed to China
Arjun Kharpal, CNBC
Nov 14, 2017
Beijing Sinnet Technology said Tuesday it would buy parts of Amazon's cloud business in China for up to 2 billion Chinese yuan ($301 million), but the U.S. e-commerce giant said it was not exiting the world's second-largest economy.
In August 2016, Amazon signed a deal to let Chinese tech firm Sinnet operate services provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) in China.
Sinnet said in a regulatory filing on Monday that the purchase, which is still pending, would help it "comply with China's laws to further improve the company's AWS cloud services" in terms of quality and security.
But Amazon said that it is only selling "certain physical assets" and still owns the intellectual property for AWS worldwide.
"No, AWS did not sell its business in China and remains fully committed to ensuring Chinese customers continue to receive AWS's industry leading cloud services. Chinese law forbids non-Chinese companies from owning or operating certain technology for the provision of cloud services. As a result, in order to comply with Chinese law, AWS sold certain physical infrastructure assets to Sinnet, its longtime Chinese partner and AWS seller-of-record for its AWS China (Beijing) Region," Amazon said in a statement to TechCrunch...
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Is Whole Foods Market Becoming the Next Target?
by Emily Monaco, Organic Authority
November 13, 2017
Amazon has announced that devices, such as the Amazon Echo, Fire TV, and Kindle e-reader, will be sold at more than 100 Whole Foods Market stores this holiday season, shifting the chain away from its natural food and body brand identity.
Several Whole Foods stores will also feature pop-up shops where staff members will offer demos of Amazon Prime, Prime Video, and other Amazon services.
The company also announced discounted prices on the Echo Dot, Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, Kindle Papwerwhite, Amazon Cloud Cam, Fire 7 Tablet, and Fire HD Tablet at Whole Foods Market stores in advance of the holidays.
“Tis the season for Whole Foods Market customers to get a head start on their holiday gifting by taking advantage of upcoming Black Friday deals,” reads the company press release, noting that “these collaborative programs are another step forward in the integration between the companies.”
This is only the latest way in which Amazon has attempted to use Whole Foods as a brick-and-mortar display for its products since its acquisition of the natural foods chain at the end of August. Food Dive cites, for example, Amazon’s heavily ridiculed choice to put up a display of Echo Dots in Whole Foods Market stores along with a sign reading “farm fresh.”
“Amazon’s holiday plans certainly raise questions about how much the company might change Whole Foods stores,” reports the outlet. “It’s not hard to imagine Amazon making devices, demo booths and other offerings permanent fixtures inside the stores. Some wonder, in fact, if Whole Foods will become more like Apple stores in their showcasing of company technology.”
Many Whole Foods stores already sell clothing and household and kitchen goods that could also see expansion, putting it firmly head-to-head with other big box retailers like Target and Walmart...
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Amazon or Walmart? Some retailers are choosing alliances
By Anne D'Innocenzio | The Associated Press
via The Denver Post | November 13, 2017
NEW YORK — Store chains feeling the upheaval in retail are making strategic alliances — and that can mean picking sides.
Kohl’s shoppers can find Amazon devices at some stores, and return items they bought from the online retailer. Nike has made some of its sneakers available through Amazon. The owner of Sears is selling Kenmore-branded appliances on Amazon in some markets. And Best Buy is teaming up with Amazon for voice shopping.
Meanwhile, Walmart, which has the most store locations, is assembling a coalition of its own: buying smaller online brands and becoming the highest-profile partner to Google in voice shopping. And the discount chain that touts low prices announced a web partnership Monday with high-end department store Lord & Taylor.
“When you are in an historic uncharted chaotic situation, you often see these strange bedfellows,” said Joel Bines, co-head of AlixPartners’ retail practice and a managing director at the firm.
Since the beginning of the year, several retailers have filed for bankruptcy protection, including well-known names like Toys R Us. And retailers have announced thousands of store closings, with more expected. Analysts say some brands realize they might not succeed alone.
“You have to be challenging accepted norms. So you might find partners that you normally wouldn’t have considered,” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL Strategic Retail. “This has exploded because of the urgency to change. You look at retailers who are closing or struggling.”
So as Amazon moves even further into fashion, home electronics and grocery stores, and cements shopper loyalty with its $99-a-year Prime membership, stores are developing partnerships with the online retailer to increase customer traffic or expand their offerings online...