Amazon Dash Wand and the Whole Foods Acquisition: What’s the Connection?

Amazon’s latest hardware product, the Dash Wand, makes it extremely easy to add items to your Amazon shopping cart. Whenever you start to run low on something, just point the wand’s infrared beam at the barcode on the product and press the button, and Amazon Alexa will automatically add it to your shopping card. You can also ask Alexa to add an item by long-pressing the button and issuing a voice command. Alexa even responds through the embedded speaker on the Amazon Dash Wand.

Dash Wand Dash Wand

The $20 gadget has massive potential, especially in light of Amazon’s upcoming acquisition of Whole Foods Market for an agreed price of $13.7 billion in cash. At this point, Amazon is not going to want to upset the apple cart by announcing layoffs or completely rearranging the Whole Foods system. However, it will attempt to take advantage of synergies with the technologies it already possesses, and the Dash Wand is merely representative of that.

Included with your Dash Wand purchase is $20 of shopping credit and a three-month waiver of AmazonFresh Pickup charges, which are $15 a month. That more than pays for the gadget itself, and is in total congruence with the value that Amazon keeps adding to its products.

But in light of the Whole Foods Market acquisition, the implications are tremendous. A Dash Wand in every Prime home means never having to go to the grocery store to get your stuff anymore. At worst, you might have to pick up the order, but that’s only going to take a few minutes.

Amazon is attacking Walmart on its own turf, and bringing the full power of technology with it. Whole Foods Market’s “over 460” stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom might not be a match for Walmart’s nearly 12,000 stores across 28 countries and 63 banners, but Amazon is only looking at the domestic market and the United Kingdom at this point, as far as groceries are concerned.

The push into grocery retail is a vital growth factor for Amazon’s future. If the Whole Foods acquisition goes through in the second half of 2017, as planned, it will give the e-commerce giant a meaningful presence in the grocery space. At the very least, it’s well worth the billions of dollars and one full decade spent on trying to enter this domain.

And Alexa on multiple Amazon hardware products like the Echo, Tap and Dot range, as well as Dash buttons and the Dash Wand, will help keep the customers flowing in. The acquisition will merely up their ante with an entire range of organic products.

Much of what Amazon might do after the acquisition is still the subject of speculation, but one thing is very clear: Amazon Prime and its 1-hour and 2-hour deliveries, as well as AmazonFresh Pickup, are going to get a major boost during the quarters subsequent to the acquisition.

It’s possible that another round of discussion may happen before the acquisition is closed, and the price may go up from the current $13.7 billion in cash. But whatever Amazon pays to acquire Whole Foods Market is going to be worth the expense, especially since it allows the company to take its chief brick and mortar rival, Walmart, head-on.

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Sources: CNET