MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — News that online giant Amazon is buying Whole Foods for $13.5 billion sent shockwaves through the retail community Friday.
Minnesota companies like Target and Supervalu saw their stock plummet Friday morning. At one point, Target stock was down 11 percent and Supervalu was down 17 percent.
But the shake-up may actually be good news for consumers.
Shopping is a uniquely-personal experience. Shoppers know what they want — and that’s choices.
“It’s good to have choices, as long as the quality is good,” consumer Tony Schmalz said.
What’s convenient for the customer may present a problem for in-store retailers like Cub Foods and Target, according to University of Minnesota Marketing Professor George John.
“Amazon plays by its own rules, and they don’t really care how you did it in the past,” John said. “They’re going to do it their way.”
News of the sale sent stocks reeling for several retailers, and John says the merger has potential to change the grocery game for the Twin Cities and beyond.
“We’ve fragmented out trips, OK, so we pick up milk from the Holiday, we’ll go pick up, you know, fancy cheese from Whole Foods,” John said.
He says online shopping provides a variety for consumers who value choices, which could lead to more competitive prices across stores.
“I think it gives the consumer some power, you know, and some control over what they’re buying,” said consumer Theresa Carr.
Data suggests only about 12 percent of U.S. grocery shoppers bought their groceries online at some point in 2016.
Amazon is still relatively new in the Twin Cities, delivering eggs, milk and ice cream. But it’s adding more choices every day.