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How Amazon tech can be tied into Whole FoodsCheckout-free stores? Parking lot pickup? Artisanal cheese delivered in an hour? With Amazon buying Whole Foods, there are many ways to expand the online retailer's AmazonFresh grocery business, along with other shopping technology.
Amazon foods announced it is buying the Whole Foods Market organic grocery store chain for $13.7 billion. Well, now we know how Amazon plans to expand it's reach into the grocery business because with this merger, Amazon will control more than 460 supermarkets across the U.S., Canada, and the UK. Those all can now become distribution centers for the Amazon fresh grocery delivery service. Why invest in stocking warehouses with groceries when you could just use grocery stores? Now, if you're not familiar with it, Amazon Fresh is a $15 a month service for Prime members. You order fresh produce and other groceries online, get it delivered to your door at a time you choose. Amazon is also starting to test a drive up service where you can order on your phone, and fifteen minutes later, drive up to the Amazon fresh center and someone puts the groceries in your trunk. That could be implemented in any Whole Foods parking lot. Amazon even has a gadget just for ordering groceries on Amazon Fresh. The dash wand scans bar codes and adds those items to your shopping cart, or you could just speak into the microphone to tell it what you want. That's not all. WholeFoods could also be a testing ground for Amazon's more ambitious retail technology. The no lines, no check-out, just walk out technology known as Amazon Go. It's only being tested now in Seattle, but here's the gist. When entering the Amazon Go store, you open the Amazon Go app, take the products you want, and sensors keep track of what was taken off the shelf. It knows what you walked out with, and charges your account, accordingly. But, the Whole Foods merger isn't a done deal just yet. It still needs to be approved by shareholders, and meet regulatory approvals, which, likely, won't happen until later this year. The plan... Plans are to keep the Whole Foods Market name with CEO John Mackey staying at the helm of the chain and Amazon would also keep the Whole Foods Headquarters in Austin Texas. I'm Bridget Carey. You can find more details at cnet.com.