Wal-Mart Stores reportedly wants to turn its store workers into a unique delivery fleet, as America’s largest retail group keeps pace with evolving customer demands and buying habits.
Wal-Mart’s employees will be able to download a dedicated mobile app that suggests orders they could potentially deliver on their commutes to and from work. Not only could this move reduce operational costs and carbon emissions, it could also help Wal-Mart compete with Amazon’s renowned fulfilment operations.
At first, deliveries of this kind will only be available from three Wal-Mart stores, as the company trials the feasibility of the initiative. The WSJ has linked this to a growing trend of e-commerce operations searching for alternatives to FedEx and UPS to manage and handle home deliveries.
These types of last-mile services, while difficult to manage and scale, are a growing trend in today’s e-commerce landscape. Lower costs and faster, more flexible deliveries are used by a variety of companies to lure increasingly demanding and fickle customers.
Wal-Mart store workers working as delivery drivers is just the latest fulfillment experiment from the retailer, which has also used Uber and Lyft drivers. Although the retailer certainly has the funds and the manpower to play with when trialling such schemes, the chief problem it will face if it wants to roll this out nationwide is the sheer logistical scale of its operations. Whether or not the trials can be grown and modified is yet to be seen, but the potential is certainly there.