Walmart workers are now delivering online orders to consumers’ doorsteps.
The retail giant, No. 3 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, announced today that for a little more than month it has been running a test in three stores—two in New Jersey and one in northwest Arkansas—in which store associates opt in to deliver online orders to consumers’ houses during their off hours to make extra money.
The idea aims to leverage Walmart’s logistics expertise to reduce the retailer’s shipping costs while also getting packages to consumers’ doors quicker, Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart eCommerce U.S., writes in a blog post. “We already have trucks moving orders from fulfillment centers to stores for pickup. Those same trucks could be used to bring ship-to-home orders to a store close to their final destination where a participating associate can sign up to deliver them to the customer’s house.”
Store associates can use Walmart-built technology to choose how many packages they can deliver, the size and weight limits of those packages, and which days they’re able to make deliveries after work. In determining which packages associates should deliver, Walmart’s technology seeks to minimize the collective distance employees need to travel off of their commute to make a delivery.
While the test is similar to delivery programs such as Uber Technologies Inc.’s UberRush and Amazon.com Inc.’s Amazon Flex that use on-demand workers to fulfill orders, Lore argues Walmart’s program has an advantage in that the associates don’t have to travel to pick up the package since they’re already at the store.
“Once they’re done working at the store for the day, they pick up the packages from the backroom, load them into their vehicle, enter the delivery addresses into the GPS on their phone and head towards home,” he writes.
Amazon Flex pays drivers $18-$25 an hour, Uber could not be reached for comment regarding its compensation structure and a Walmart spokesman declined to share what Walmart pays for deliveries. However, the spokesman says Walmart provides associates who handle deliveries supplemental liability insurance for their vehicles, as well as a company-issued smartphone featuring the retailer’s GPS technology that associates are expected to use to determine their route.
The test is the latest attempt by Walmart to leverage its massive store infrastructure to combat Amazon (No. 1 in the Top 500) to grow its online market share. For example, in April it launched Pickup Discount, which offers shoppers reduced prices on “several hundred thousand” items sold only online if they pick them up in a Walmart store. Walmart expects that selection to grow to more than 1 million SKUs by the end of the month.
Click here to read “Wal-Mart’s e-commerce strategy comes into focus” from the June issue of Internet Retailer. Click here to subscribe to the magazine or sign up here for a Strategy membership to access the story online.