Amazon claim to have solved a major technical hurdle in exploiting the synergy between its recently purchased Wholefoods franchise and its online delivery business. The new virtual tap n’ sniff (TNS) option allows Wholefoods shoppers to buy in the manner they’re accustomed to, by picking up any vegetable or fruit, tapping it while holding it to their ear, and then sniffing it. Market research suggests that almost 60 percent of Wholefoods customers select their groceries in this way, compared to 0.2 percent of shoppers in Walmart’s fresh produce aisles.
The virtual TNS buttons on Amazon’s Wholefoods portal let customers listen to the simulated sound of the item and will soon be able to emit an accompanying scent sample. An Amazon spokesperson told The Tribune:
The technical challenge is the olfactory component and we are partnering with Apple and other producers to solve this. It would be disastrous for a shopper to tap their Costa Rican rainforest mango and smell Brussels Sprouts for example. This is a win/win for Amazon and all consumers, we know that many people do not shop in Wholefoods due to this human/produce contact and its associated secretions