Bentonville, Ark. – Walmart is testing a new program that will
let customers pick up their online orders of CE, video games and small
appliances at a local store within hours of purchase.
The pilot cuts the delivery time of Walmart’s current “Site to
Store” free-shipping option, which generally takes seven to 10 days, but comes
late in the multichannel integration game.
BestBuy.com, for example, has long provided inventory
availability at local stores, allowing customers to retrieve their online
purchases in as little as 45 minutes. Circuit City, which pioneered the service
early in the decade, guaranteed that online orders would be ready for pickup at
a local store within 45 minutes or customers would receive $45.
Walmart’s free service, dubbed “Pick Up Today,” similarly allows
customers to see the CE, video game and small-appliance inventory at their
local Walmart store. Orders are generally ready for pickup in four hours, the
company said, and orders placed after 6:00 p.m. are ready for pickup at 10:00
a.m. the following day.
The pilot is set to expand to nearly 800 Walmart stores in large
metro areas across the U.S. later this month.
Separately, Walmart is also expanding its “FedEx Site to Store” pilot
program from Los Angeles and Boston to additional locations in New York, San
Francisco, Chicago and Washington. The program allows customers to purchase
tens of thousands of items — most of which are only available online — and
have them shipped to a FedEx office, rather than a Walmart store, at no cost.
“Our new … test programs combine the ease of online shopping with
the ability to conveniently retrieve the order at a physical location,” said
Steve Nave, senior VP and general manager of Walmart.com.