Your monthly Birchbox subscription came in the mail with a few new glamorous finds. You subscribe to each product to be delivered to your place bi-monthly. Your non-perishables have arrived in the mail, and you sigh in relief as you sit down and pick up your Kindle at the end of the week. There’s only one errand you have to run: groceries. But not for long.
By acquiring Whole Foods, Jeff Bezos has now made almost every conceivable errand outside of the house obsolete. Perishables, non-perishables, books, technology, music–Amazon is now a one-stop shop. And with drone technology in reach, perhaps we would not even need to venture out to the mailbox, no less a few steps outside of the house.
Then again, shopping at Whole Foods is no money-saving experience. For those using Amazon to beat brick and mortar prices, the new acquisition might not be so appealing. But for those who are willing to pay extra for the convenience of speedy spinach, receiving shipments from their local Whole Foods would make for an efficient week.
The acquisition begs the question of why Whole Foods? What statement is Bezos trying to make here? Perhaps Bezos is attempting to create a viral endpoint to an environmentally sustainable market chain. Whole Foods sources its produce from its franchises’ local agricultural enterprises, which supports local economies. But doesn’t it do the opposite with its book industry?
Regardless of the reason, Amazon’s acquisition opens up the door to new shipping strategies for quick, perishable deliveries; new avenues for online and brick-and-mortar integration; and perhaps a bit of competition for the weekend farmers’ market. But then again, who doesn’t enjoy strolling through those?
One thing that deliverable subscriptions will never be able to recreate is the social experience of physical establishments. When I was younger I walked into a CD store and heard a song I never quite figured out the name of – and someone there helped me out! It became my favorite band, and still is to this day. It’s a serendipitous, only-in-person experience. Sure, Whole Foods can deliver my meat and veggies to me each week, but that won’t keep me from catching up with friends at a vegetable market or a tag sale, or from curling up with an interesting book I snatched off a local shelf.