Walmart Considers Paying Its Customers To Deliver Online Orders

So you’ve ordered something from Walmart.com, but when it arrives, it doesn’t come on a UPS/FedEX/USPS truck, or even in one of the vehicles Walmart currently uses for same-day delivery. No, it is handed to you by a fellow Walmart shopper getting paid to run an errand for the retailer.

It’s an idea the company is kicking around, and can actually see trying out.

“I see a path to where this is crowd-sourced,” Walmart.com’s CEO tells Reuters about using customers for home deliveries.

Basically, Walmart customers would sign up to serve as messengers for the company, willing to deliver online orders to customers who are on the way home from the store. They probably wouldn’t be paid a wage for their efforts, but would instead get a discount on their Walmart tab that would cover the cost of fuel.

“This is at the brain-storming stage, but it’s possible in a year or two,” says the Sr. VP of Walmart U.S. innovations.

A retail industry analyst tells Reuters that he would expect to see Walmart give this a test in a handful of stores, but points out some of the potential pitfalls — lost, stolen or damaged items, unreliable messengers, lack of insurance, and a general ick-factor.

“You are comfortable with a FedEx or UPS truck in your driveway, but what about a stranger knocking on your door?” he asks.