Amazon plus Whole Foods = End to End Wellness Brand


By now I’m sure you’ve heard about Amazon’s plans to acquire Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. It’s a big deal. Infact, it’s Amazon’s biggest buy so far. The markets certainly have reacted positively, boosting the stock price of both Amazon and Whole Foods, while lowering the price of the main grocery giants in the US like Costco, Kroger, WalMart, etc. All the talk seems to be about Amazon getting a brick and mortar footprint in affluent, Amazon Prime member neighbourhoods. But all I can think about is the opportunity for them to build the first truly End to End Wellness Brand. Huh?

This concept of an End to End Wellness Brand is something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. What is it? Let me try to explain.

There’s lots of brands out there in lots of different categories that have positioned themselves as the Wellness Brands. Of course, we see many examples of his is the spa and beauty industry. We’ve also seen many hotels in recent years trying to carve out a bit of a Wellness niche. Food? Lots of them too. Nestle, for example, have the stated purpose of – …’enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future.’ Then there’s Wellness Clothing. This could be anything from yoga and fitness clothes, to smart clothing with embeddable sensors. Or maybe it could be Ayurveda clothing which has been dyed using medicinal plants and herbs. Bet you didn’t know about that one. And we even have Wellness Pet Food. Yep! It’s a thing.

But what we don’t have is one brand that owns the term Wellness across multiple categories. Surely that’s an opportunity, isn’t it? Think about it. If I know and trust your brand to deliver me a quality skincare solution, I’d surely be happy to turn to you for a Wellness food, clothing or even pet food solution.

It’s a concept that builds on the theme of creating a lifestyle brand. I’ve explored this here before in articles about the Hyatt-Miraval deal, the Accor Local initiative and one on Spas – Lifestyle Brands of the Future.

In my mind, the best first step in creating this mystical End to End Wellness Brand I speak of, would be to own Wellness in an industry category which is ubiquitous. Something that everyone uses every day. Food certainly ticks that box. Ordinarily, I would say that category should also be one with high profit margins. It would need to be able to sustain the long journey of not just building a brand but of almost defining a completely new industry segment. The grocery business is notoriously not a high margin business. Still, if any company has the bandwidth to go the journey, it would be Amazon.