At a Whole Foods in Austin, Texas, the grocer has tested marketing material that promotes 10 percent discounts for Prime members, according pictures of that signage obtained by CNBC.
The discounts are not official, and the marketing material is still in its trial stage. The banners were hung late Wednesday in the store and had been removed by Thursday morning.
A Whole Foods spokesperson told CNBC, “We’re not testing this offer at any of our stores.”
One of the banners tells Amazon Prime members “blue signs mean special deals just for you, yes you.” Another proclaims that Prime members save an extra 10 percent off “hundreds of sale prices.”
The yellow and blue banners are one more indication of how the internet giant may use Whole Foods following its $13.7 billion acquisition of the grocer. With Whole Foods’ reputation for expensive, niche items, onlookers have been watching closely to determine how it might make the grocer’s products more affordable.
Amazon has slowly been introducing perks to its members. Earlier this year, it announced that Prime members who use its Visa rewards card will get 5 percent cash back when they shop at Whole Foods. It offered Prime members a special discount for Whole Foods shoppers on roses during Valentine’s Day.
It has also been rolling out a free delivery service of Whole Foods products for Prime members.
All the while, Whole Foods has continued efforts that predated its sale to Amazon to make its operations more streamlined. Still, some of these efforts — like its move to centralize merchandising with some of its larger vendors — have faced resistance. Some brands have had concerns that those fees will be adopted by the industry more widely.
The grocer held a summit last week at the Hilton Austin with roughly 200 of its suppliers to quell concerns regarding past and upcoming changes.
At the summit, the grocer laid out several initiatives the grocer plans to make, including exclusive Whole Foods discounts for Amazon Prime members. It is touting those discounts as a way for brands to make the best use out of their promotional dollars. They will also no doubt strengthen Amazon’s position on the grocery industry.
Amazon’s lurch into the grocery space has put pressure on other grocers to invest in technology, price and create their own “network” to compete as best they can with the marriage of Amazon Prime and Whole Foods.
Albertsons plans to launch a service to cater to many of the small brands that might historically be sold nationally only at Whole Foods. It earlier this year launched Albertsons Performance Media, a platform to help brands better target their digital ads.
Amazon, which has been secretive about the number of Prime members it has, recently raised the price of the program to a range of $10.99 to $12.99 a month.