- Kara Driscoll Staff Writer
Amazon’s pending purchase of Whole Foods has waged a full-out war between grocers — signifying an upcoming transformation of the grocery shopping game in major markets across the U.S., including the Southwest Ohio region.
With Amazon.com’s pending $13.7 billion purchase of Austin-based Whole Foods Market, consumers in Southwest Ohio are seeing a deluge of new online grocery offerings pop up from chains like Kroger, Meijer, Walmart and Dorothy Lane Market. Here’s what you need to know:
WHAT DOES THE WHOLE FOODS-AMAZON DEAL MEAN FOR OHIO?
Once the acquisition is complete, online retail giant Amazon will own all 466 Whole Foods stores, poising a potential threat for locally owned mom-and-pop shops. Whole Foods has one location in Centerville located at 1050 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, and another store in Mason at 5805 Deerfield Blvd. Whole Foods also has several locations in Columbus, and surrounding suburban areas.
A spokeswoman for Whole Foods told this newspaper it was too early to predict how Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods would impact local stores and its services to customers in Ohio.
WHAT’S DRIVING THE SHIFT TO ONLINE SHOPPING IN THE GROCERY INDUSTRY?
Consumer studies show consumer trends that are dismantling the retail industry are now seeping through to the way people want to buy their groceries — shoppers want convenience, quickness and quality above all else. Online grocery shopping is making major gains, according to the Food Marketing Institute’s U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2017 report. The number of shoppers buying some of their groceries online jumped to 11 percent in the first quarter compared to 5 percent in 2016, according to the report.
WHAT ONLINE OPTIONS DO LOCAL SHOPPERS HAVE?
In just the past year, service options like Amazon Fresh, Shipt, Instacart and Kroger Clicklist have launched in most zip codes in the Dayton, Cincinnati and Springfield regions. Instacart, an online grocery shopping service, launched in the Dayton region back in May — offering unlimited delivery, where customers can get their groceries delivered to their door within an hour. The services range from $99 annually, or $14.99 per month. Michigan-based Meijer partnered with Shipt, an app and website that offers grocery delivery services. It allows customers the ability to shop for items online or using its mobile app, and then a personal shopper brings the shopping order right to the customers door.
KROGER IS A LOCAL COMPANY. WHAT ARE THEY UP TO?
Kroger, which employees at least 8,100 associates in the Dayton region, just opened its newest store at the Cornerstone of Centerville development. The 115,000-square-foot store was built with today’s consumer in mind — a “destination” experience for consumers. Shoppers can stop and relax for a glass of wine or pint of beer, grab a slice of hot pizza or a plate of sushi, and continue on with their shopping.
Kroger also expanded ClickList, its online shopping service, to nearly all locations in the region. Customers have the ability to go online and order from more than 40,000 items. With reserved pickup parking, Kroger associates bring the grocery order to the car.