Walmart testing employee deliveries

by Linda Olson June 3, 2017, 1:52
Walmart testing employee deliveries

Hundreds of packages have been delivered as part of the new employee delivery pilot, and Walmart says that in many cases items promised for delivery in the two-day window are being dropped off at a customer's home in half that time.

Walmart, the world's largest retailer, with 4,700 US stores and roughly 1.2 million employees, is testing an "associate delivery" program for its ship-to-home orders.

Wal-Mart's stores are within 10 miles (16 km) of 90 percent of the US population, Lore said. "It's easy to see why this test could be a game changer", he said.

Associates 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 - it's completely up to them, and they can update those preferences at any time.

Wal-Mart also said it is taking precautionary actions to ensure its employees are vetted before delivering packages to customers. While having employees work some more after they leave work doesn't sound too good, Walmart is pitching this as an opportunity rather than an extra task.

Here's how it works: At the end of a regular shift, an associate picks up packages from the store's backroom, loads them into his or her vehicle, gets directions through their phone and heads back toward home, making stops along the way.

"The key here is the final mile delivery cost", Sodero said.

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The company calls this "Associate Delivery" and it already started testing this concept with some orders. The company - long the country's largest retailer - has taken aggressive steps in the past year, beginning with its $3.3 billion purchase of Jet.com to compete with Amazon.com, which accounts for about 33 percent of the country's online sales.

The gathering - part pep rally, part music concert, and only briefly a business meeting - comes as Walmart's moves to meld its online services with its battalion of 4,700 stores are gaining momentum.

The program aims at using one of Walmart's biggest assets - more than a million US store employees - to help close its big e-commerce sales gap with Amazon. Wal-Mart declined to say whether participating store workers get paid a fee for the delivery or simply more for the extra hours.

"We think crowdsourcing is a mechanism of the future, and frankly, as you think about the move to driverless [vehicles], that could also make the cost of delivery lower", Scott Price, chief administrative officer of Walmart International, said Thursday. Walmart workers would simply travel from the store they already work at to make the delivery.

Still, Lore wrote, "I'm excited to continue exploring more ways to bring our digital and physical strengths together to serve customers".

Lore has overseen Wal-Mart's acquisitions of three online retailers and made other e-commerce changes.

In February, the retailer launched free two-day shipping for all orders over $35 - a direct challenge to Amazon's $99 Prime membership, which offers free two-day shipping on all orders.


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