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.