Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

When Amazon walks into a new market, it rarely does so quietly.

You know there will be changes and, often, big ones.

So when Jeff Bezos's company bought Whole Foods two years ago, shoulders tensed and teeth were gritted.

And that was just the Whole Foods employees.

Yes, it was jarring to see Whole Foods suddenly peddling Amazon's cheap and cheerful gadgets.

There were also mumblings about changes in employee instructions and the stocking of products.

How, though, has Amazon's incursion influenced customers?

Location data company inMarket just offered me a first look at the conclusions from its analysis of customer life at Whole Foods.

They make for stimulating reading.

Here's the good news. If you're an Amazon executive, that is. 

Foot traffic at Whole Foods has risen, year-on year, by 16.5 percent. 

InMarket concludes this is due to Amazon focusing on its existing Prime user base and offering it enticing inducements.

I confess I find these inducements both presumptive and irritating, as they constantly invade my inbox like inebriated college students to a wholesome frat party.

They've made me feel less positive about Whole Foods -- and Amazon -- rather than more.

inMarket also theorizes these inducements might be driving customers to visit Whole Foods more often.

You might think, however, that there are Prime members who haven't visited Whole Foods.

Prime, after all, has over 100 million subscribers. There are around 467 Whole Foods in the U.S.

Yet inMarket's research insists that the number of new shoppers at Whole Foods has declined by 2.5 percent.

The company suggests this may be because Amazon is focusing on shoring up its existing shopper base and binding it more tightly to Whole Foods.

The best customer is, after all, a regular customer.

Another new trend spotted by inMarket was the increase in what it calls micro-visits. 

These, lasting 5 minutes or less, are up 10 percent and may reflect Amazon's push toward in-store pickup. 

If there's one thing that's certain about Amazon's strategic thinking, it's that it constantly changes.

In an area as brutal and dynamic as retail, it has to be that way.

Walmart outnumbers Amazon greatly when it comes to physical locations. 

As time rolls on, it'll be fascinating to see whether there really is a vast, newly-committed group of customers which goes out of its way to shop at Whole Foods.

Or whether Amazon discovers that the competition in physical retail can get very physical indeed.

Published on: May 15, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.