Whole Foods customers are one step closer to being able to ask Alexa to order their groceries.
Whole Foods shareholders voted Wednesday to approve Amazon's acquisition bid, and Amazon announced Thursday it would close the deal Monday.
But what if you didn't have to tell Alexa what you wanted? What if instead, she told you? That may sound like a sci-fi fantasy, but it could become reality.
Amazon announced Thursday it would integrate its Prime program into Whole Foods stores in the future and make it the grocers' loyalty program. The company said the goal is to lower prices at the notoriously expensive store, but the move also gives Amazon insight into people's shopping habits.
It's no secret that Amazon already uses data to personalize people's experiences. The website is loaded with recommendations based on previously viewed or purchased items. It also features virtual dash buttons that allow shoppers to simply click a button to restock on a previously purchased item.
Amazon could even implement more radical features using its voice-activated Alexa technology, such as prompting shoppers to buy products. Grocery shopping could be a promising introduction. It provides predictable data because customers are inclined to buy the same perishable products like milk and bread on a consistent schedule.
"Now a customer is proactively placing an order, and you can say, 'We've seen you place an order for milk every week in the last 7 weeks, and now in this case, why don't we proactively prompt that?" said Amit Sharma, CEO of Narvar, a software company that helps retailers improve customers' post-purchase experience.