Another day, another bid by a retailer competing with Amazon to strike a blow by offering a new, attractive service to customers: This time it’s Walmart, and the tempting idea is same-day delivery for online orders. The company started testing the waters last week in the Washington suburbs and is rolling out the service in few other U.S. locales soon as well.
This same-day delivery combines the instant gratification of bringing home an item from a physical store with the ease of ordering said item on your couch in your favorite sweatpants without the hassle of talking to actual people. So if Walmart can pull it off, it’d go a long way toward making customers happy.
Sam Walton’s store previously tested same-day pickup of items ordered online, but this would likely be appealing to anyone who didn’t want to or prefer to use cash, or drive anywhere whatsoever.
The New York Times says customers near a particpating Walmart can order toys and other gifts and have them delivered that same day for a charge of $10 — and there’s no order minimum. If this thing goes nationwide it could be simply huge — it basically turns the more than 4,000 local Walmart stores around the country into distribution centers, compared to Amazon’s 40 fulfillment warehouses.
It’s not easy to offer same-day delivery for the traditional physical retail stores. Amazon doesn’t have the same inventory or staffing costs that big box stores have, but that hasn’t kept Walmart, Best Buy and others from trying. The more locations a retailer has, the better of a chance it’ll succeed in offering same-day delivery.
Here’s how it will work: Customers interested in same-day delivery must place their order before noon and select a time slot from a four-hour window to have said items delivered. UPS is in charge of deliveries, and the current test only includes popular holiday items like toys, sports equipment, home décor and electronics — all popular holiday items.
So far the new program is running in northern Virginia and Philadelphia, Minneapolis as of yesterday, and will eventually be in San Jose and San Francisco later this fall.
Wal-Mart Tests Same-Day Delivery [New York Times]