Whole Foods Seeing More Short Visits Due to Amazon Lockers

Whole Foods stores with Amazon.com lockers installed are receiving many more shorter visits from customers, giving the organic and natural foods retailer another way of boosting sales, shows research from an online industry researcher.

Micro visits, as they are called, are defined as between three and five minutes, and increased 11% at stores that have lockers since the closing of the deal in which Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in August of last year.

That is comparison to an increase of 7% in stores located in the same cities, but do not have lockers installed, said researchers.

Amazon shoppers, which includes those looking to avoid porch pirate thefts of packages, can choose to have orders they place sent to lockers for a one-off use at no extra cost.

Amazon sends the client the number of the locker and a unique code needed to open it and then take their package.

Researchers studied nearly 100 locations in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Washington, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta and Houston metro areas. Seventy-six stores, equal to approximately 16% of the 473 stores in the chain had lockers.

People stopping at Whole Foods to pick up their package from a locker might be enticed into buying milk, drink or one of many promotional items, said industry experts who said that the trips can also be a way for Whole Foods to keep shoppers up to date with changes at the grocery chain.

One researcher said that immediacy and serendipity takes place during an in-store experience. As good as the system of delivery is becoming, with one-day and at times one-hour delivery available, that cannot compete with the immediacy of entering a store and retrieving a package and buying something else while there because it just came to mind while entering the store.

Micro visits represent about 9% of all visits for grocery stores thus far in 2018, with Whole Foods trailing that with 6.5%.

Whole Foods is able to drive impulse sales through placing products strategically close to lockers and providing easy and quick payment options, like self-checkout, said one analyst on Wall Street.

The analyst added that the chain has already tested food-to-go/impulse area inside a larger location in New York

Amazon has its lockers inside 7-Eleven stores in over 300 cities.

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