Amazon 'Primes' Whole Foods for More Visitors

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Jeff Bezos is about to one-up your grocery store loyalty program.

Today, millions of consumers get lower prices and other perks in exchange for favoring one store chain over another. Starting Monday, Amazon will lavish its most loyal customers with similar benefits and more when they shop at Whole Foods Market, the high-end grocery chain it's buying for $13.7 billion.

People who already pay $99 for Amazon Prime's free shipping, streaming music and video will have another reason to renew each year: cheaper organic avocados, eggs and chicken.

Tying Prime membership to grocery buying habits plays squarely into Amazon's strategy of selling all things to all people. While likely boosting Prime's membership rolls, it could also induce a broader range of customers to stop more often at Whole Foods -- a company that has a reputation for being too pricey for many shoppers.

"Part of what Amazon is trying to do is translate that higher frequency traffic to Whole Foods," says Mike Levin, co-founder of Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. "Ties between Prime membership and Whole Foods will make those stores a more standard destination for these shoppers."
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