Two-day free shipping, online pickup discounts, grocery pickup — these are just a few ways in which Walmart has tried to up its online shopping game while staying competitive with rival Amazon. Today, the big box retailer rolled out its latest effort: sending associates to customers’ houses with orders in hand.
Walmart announced today that is testing a system at three stores in New Jersey and Arkansas in which local store associates can earn extra funds by delivering customers’ online orders.
The new “last-mile” system is intended to cut shipping costs and get packages to their final destinations faster and more efficiently, while creating a “special win-win-win” for all involved, Walmart e-commerce CEO Marc Lore wrote in a blog post.
Through the new system, store associates can sign up to deliver products to customers’ homes at the end of their shifts. Once the worker’s shift is over for the day, they take the packages and drop them off to customers who happen to be on their route home.
It’s unclear what the timeframe between customers placing an orders and receiving it will be. We’ve reached out to Walmart for additional details.
Associates who opt in to participate in the delivery system will be able to choose the number of deliveries to make, along with the size and weight of those packages.
Lore says the new offering makes sense for the retailer given its fulfillment fleet and the millions of associates working in stores.
“We already have trucks moving orders from fulfillment centers to stores for pickup,” he wrote. “Those same trucks could be used to bring ship-to-home orders to a store close to their final destination.”
Additionally, with more than 4,000 stores, that final destination is likely within 10 miles of most customers, Lore notes.
Lore says the company will likely use the system to create even more last-mile delivery innovations in the future, such as providing same-day delivery — think Amazon Prime Now — to some customers.