business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

There has been some question in recent days about whether or not Amazon is a good fit with Whole Foods, the bricks-and-mortar retailer that it wants to acquire for $13.7 billion. Some of it is about culture, but there also is speculation that Amazon will find it difficult to integrate its products and services with Whole Foods', and vice-versa.

My friend Rudy Dory, of Bend, Oregon's wonderful Newport Avenue Market, may have found the answer. In Spain.

Rudy was in Madrid this week, and being a grocer to his core, he visited one of the fresh markets there, the Mercado de la Paz, which dates back to the 19th century. He found an Amazon PrimeNow booth, which is facilitating free two-hour delivery from the many fresh food stalls there.

(Check out the pictures at left. Thanks, Rudy.)

The fact is that the Mercado, which represents a time-honored way of buying fresh foods, is adapting successfully to 21st century technology and the advantages it offers to consumers. Which is very smart.

It also isn't new. I did a little research, and found that the Mercado launched this partnership in 2016.

While there seemed to be some activity in the e-commerce segment when Amazon announced its bid for Whole Food, with experts saying that this would finally force many traditional grocers to move faster and more decisively to offer e-grocery services, I'd suggest that this may be something of an illusion. People are talking about competing with the Amazon-Whole Foods tie-up, but I'm not yet persuaded that retailers big and small are making the moves they need to make as quickly as they need to make them.

And yet, here is this 19th century Spanish market that already has, and may reflect exactly how Amazon will be able to utilize Whole Foods' real estate pretty quickly after the deal is finalized.

It is an Eye-Opener.

KC's View: