Walmart Tests Home Delivery Using In-Store Employees
As it searches for ways to up their customer service level to better compete with a company like Amazon, Walmart is showing that there are still plenty of ways to innovate in the retail industry. They’ve already had success launching programs like Online Grocery Pickup, free two-day shipping, and a Pickup Discount. But Walmart is testing an entirely new program that could turn their 11,723 locations around the world into, in effect, distribution centers.
In a blog post on Thursday, the company announced that it’s testing an associate delivery program. The premise is pretty simple: Walmart asks its associates to deliver product to customers’ homes on their commute home. The program is optional for the associates—they can opt in to the delivery program and get an additional cash bonus for doing so—and aside from the added bonus it costs Walmart nothing as employees use their own vehicles to make the deliveries. Walmart said that deliveries are made based on the employee’s route home, so they won’t be sending associates too far out of their way (if at all) to deliver purchased product.
“This last-mile innovation is one of a kind. Unlike crowdsourced delivery, where the driver has to travel (often out of the way) to pick up the package, then drive the full distance to deliver it, our associates are starting at the same place as the packages,” Marc Love, President and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce, wrote in the blog. “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 toward home.”