Whole Foods Is Canceling Rewards Program for ‘Something Great With Amazon’

It’s out with the old rewards program, in with the mysteriously new at Whole Foods.

The grocery chain announced in an April 16 email to customers that their accounts on WholeFoodsMarket.com would be suspended after May 1, and encouraged users to download recipes and shopping lists they have saved there.

The email also warned that digital coupons would be absent from the store’s website and app after May 1.

“Stay tuned — we’re cooking up something great with Amazon and we can’t wait to tell you about it,” the message concluded.

Amazon announced its buyout of Whole Foods Market’s more than 470 locations in summer 2017, and said that Amazon Prime would eventually become its customer reward program.

In the meantime, Whole Foods has announced slightly lower prices on popular products and went on a hiring spree. But the promise of lower prices hasn’t been fully realized: Whole Foods is still tweaking prices to stay competitive with other grocery chains.

Amazon lockers have started appearing in some stores, and displays for Amazon products like Echo devices have popped up throughout the chain. The Amazon Prime Rewards credit card started offering 5% back on Whole Foods purchases in February 2018.

But Whole Foods is keeping mum on how it will reward loyal customers in the future. The company did not respond to a request for more information about upcoming programs.

Customer loyalty programs may be on the brink of disruption altogether: Studies have shown that paid membership programs retain customers better than free loyalty programs.

One example: Plenti offered benefits for shopping at retailers like Macy’s, Rite Aid and Winn-Dixie, but the rewards network announced this week it would end the program in July.

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who covers the grocery and retail industries.