Eight months ago, we sarcastically predicted that the Walmart mini-store format, Walmart Express, would catch on and cause ever-tinier Walmarts to branch out and take over global commerce, splintering like enchanted brooms out of Mickey Mouse’s control. That hasn’t happened yet, but reader Ashi spotted something weird in San Diego. It’s a Walmart that isn’t a Walmart: a Walmart.com storefront where customers can go and…order things from Walmart online.
Ashi observed, “Made to look like an Apple store, you can order anything you want from Walmart.com. Wait! Isn’t that what the Internet is for?!”
Well, yes. And no. This is one of two pop-up stores (the other is in Los Angeles) meant as a holiday experiment. The stores don’t sell anything in person, but there are some items on display. Customers can buy anything from the online inventory with sort-of-free shipping. The shipping cost for items delivered to customers’ homes get refunded as a virtual gift card.
One man visiting the store told a Sign On San Diego reportera, “Next thing you know, it will have a bank and it’ll be selling new and used cars in the parking lot.” Some Walmarts already have banks. Regarding the cars: shhh, don’t give them any ideas.