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Amazon lockers boost short trips to Whole Foods

Average monthly traffic is on the rise in locations that offer mail-order pickup

Average monthly foot traffic in Whole Foods Market stores has seen a bump since news of their acquisition by Amazon broke last June, but the addition of Amazon Lockers, which allow for pickup of mail-ordered packages from the Seattle-based e-commerce giant, has upped brief visits to the natural retailer’s stores even more, new research from digital marketing agency InMarket finds.

“Micro-visits,” defined as three- to five-minute trips to a store – which make up approximately 9% of all grocery store visits thus far in 2018 – have grown 9% at Whole Foods stores with Amazon Lockers compared with the same period in 2017. And since Amazon took control of Whole Foods in late August 2017, micro-visits to stores with Amazon Lockers have risen 11% versus a 7% increase at stores without lockers.

This is significant because the Austin, Texas-based grocer's average stores typically attract fewer micro-visits than other grocers, with only 6.5% of trips to those locations lasting between three to five minutes so far in 2018.

“Incremental visits drive additional revenue for retailers, but micro-visits are unique in that consumers could simply be visiting for in-store pickup,” InMarket noted. “Much like a convenience store in dealing with gas customers, it’s up to Whole Foods to capitalize on the short visitation via impulse buys and low-consideration products.”

Mobile devices are critical in this situation, as they offer retailers and brands the opportunity to engage with shoppers during the exact window of time that they’re inside a store. As the relationship between Amazon and Whole Foods evolves, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Amazon surround its in-store lockers with convenience-minded products to drive incremental sales on short visits.

“Lockers have been installed at 7-Eleven for roughly three years, which could set an interesting example for the retailer,” InMarket said. “And if seamless checkout – currently being tested at Amazon Go stores – goes mainstream, this could become a very interesting case example of grocery evolution and convergence.”

Amazon Lockers are secure, self-service kiosks where customers can pick up packages from at a time and place that is convenient for them. Customers choose a locker and add it to their Amazon address book as a destination. During checkout, they select the locker as their shipping address, receiving a unique six-digit code via e-mail upon the packages delivery. Customers collect their package by entering the code into the locker's touchscreen.

As of December 2017, Amazon had 2,000-plus lockers located across more than 50 major metropolitan areas nationwide. At that same time, nearly 400 Whole Foods stores had Amazon Lockers.

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