What An Amazon And Whole Foods Future Might Look Like
A design firm created a vision of what a future powered by the companies could do to brick-and-mortar retail
When Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion earlier this year, many of us wondered what it could mean. As part of a thought experiment Austin-based design firm Argodesign mocked up a series of concepts of what an Amazon Foods future could look like. Their ideas were powered by drone technology, smart garbage bins, and a sharing model similar to Airbnb and Uber.
The first idea called the Echo Fridge is based on the idea of Amazon/Whole Foods being able to predict and supply what you need in your home. The Echo Fridge would have an exterior-facing door in suburban areas that would allow small vehicles to pull up and a small box sized door where a drone could land. The door would open into the fridge where you would would receive the food Amazon believes you want with out you having to pay unless you use the products. Rather than choosing the items in your fridge, your fridge would essentially become a grocery store in your home where you would pick and choose what you’d like to eat.
The second idea called the Garage Garden is fueled by the idea that a future of self-driving cars would result in empty personal garage that one held cars. The empty garages would be transformed into gardens powered by Amazon Foods. For a monthly fee, Argodesign imagines families getting a hydroponic system with hardware owned and maintained by Amazon replete with an employee that comes by every few weeks to prune your garden. Much like the Echo Fridge, families could take and pay for what they would like with the rest of the produce being sold to local farmers’ markets.
A third idea is the Unlock Food Scanner which would allow you to grow produce and cook meals for your neighbors. Amazon would serve a role akin to Blue Apron crossed with Airbnb enabling customers to request or send food to their neighbors to eat. The Food Scanner would be able to look at a dish and detect any allergens or pathogens to ensure that the home cooked dishes prepared for you by your neighbors are safe to eat.
The final idea that Argodesign developed is the Amazon Bin which would leverage Amazon’s network to deal with your trash. The garbage bin would have two holes, one that says “Reorder” and the other that says “Don’t.” Anything going in is scanned so that Amazon could learn your preferences by your garbage and would be able to generate revenue out of recyclables and reward users for better habits. For example an apple thrown out whole might cost the owner of the bin more money than had it been eaten. The system could give customers credit for recycling resulting in more money for being green.
While some of these ideas might sound a bit strange it is important to remember that the idea of getting into a strangers car before Uber was also not considered acceptable. All Argondesign’s ideas would need to be accepted would be to reach a tipping point when their concepts go from being farfetched and uncomfortable to being commonplace and completely accepted.