Amazon Acquires Whole Foods

First on my list is Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. The internet has been speculating how life as we know it will change forever. What’s clear is that the outlook for consumers is positive with theories that Amazon will create a wider selection of products at better prices tied together with a more convenient shopping experience.

According to several sources, this could mean:

  • Lower prices achieved through Amazon’ supply chain to directly combat the biggest drawback of Whole Foods, otherwise known as “Whole Paycheck.” Organic food at lower prices with a convenience factor is sure to drum up business among millennials.
  • And speaking of convenience and customization, there are a multitude of theories that Amazon will create options to pick-up pre-ordered groceries, have them delivered to your door and/or select them in-store via tablets while they are collected for you.
  • Last but not least, the mashup of the brick and mortar experience without the hassle of lines. There is talk of eliminating the checkout process as devices are able to scan and automatically charge what customers put in their carts and then ultimately leave with.

So what does this mean for brands? While NPD reported that only 7 percent of consumers shopped for groceries online in May 2017, it doesn’t mean that e-commerce or a unique and customized version of it should be ignored. Now is the time to start testing, advancing or developing an e-commerce program that makes it faster and more convenient for consumers to get the product they love.

Verizon acquires AOL and Yahoo!

Just last month, Verizon closed the deal on the acquisition of Yahoo! for a cool 4.5 billion. It plans to combine it with its AOL assets into a subsidiary called OATH, which covers 50 media brands. With this recent acquisition and the one pending between AT&T and Time Warner, 2017 is most certainly the year of telecom and media mergers.

This move goes beyond the need to grow and diversify. The goal is to stay in the game and create reach and scale that can stand a chance in competing with the Google and Facebook duopolies.

Google and Facebook already account for 75 percent of the U.S. ad market. And, digital advertising reached a record high last year with 72.5 billion. This astronomical number reflects a growth of 22 percent from 2015, driven almost entirely by these powerhouses.

Fast Company reported that “The sale of Yahoo! is another sign of the massive consolidation that continues to happen in the world of online media and content, as large companies look to bring together multiple audiences for economies of scale to build out stronger advertising business in competition with the likes of Google and Facebook.”

Verizon now has access to a wide array of ad tech access including programmatic video, display, native and search.

What does all of this mean for consumers?

It means more original mobile content that’s easily sharable with highly customized and targeted advertising.

Forbes reported that Verizon is planning to launch its own streaming TV service later this year, which could package content from Yahoo! and AOL with live TV.

Reported by AdAge and featured on Squawk Box, Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes stated “We need to increase competition for advertising across television, internet companies… when you do that, what you end up with is more of the burden being born by advertising companies, less of it being borne by consumer.”

AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephanson stated “The deal is all about speed. “The world of distribution and content is converging, and we need to move fast,” AT&T wants to curate content differently for mobile environments, and give consumers the ability to make clips of content and share it quickly via social media.”

In these acquisitions, the common denominator is the drive towards creating an exceptional user experience for their customers. Instant access or delivery, exclusive content or unique shopping experiences all at the click of a button or swipe of a finger. The benefits for consumers are imminent and opportunities for marketers to make a more meaningful impact are on the horizon.