Walmart testing out “Associate Delivery” service

Walmart is trialling using its staff to deliver goods to customers while on their commute from their work at Walmart to their homes.

Last Friday, Walmart posted a notice on their company blog where Marc Lore, President and CEO, Walmart US eCommerce, said: “Not only can this cut shipping costs and get packages to their final destinations faster and more efficiently, it creates a special win-win-win for customers, associates and the business.

“It just makes sense: We already have trucks moving orders from fulfillment centers to stores for pickup. Those same trucks could be used to bring ship-to-home orders to a store close to their final destination, where a participating associate can sign up to deliver them to the customer’s house. The best part is this gives our own associates a way to earn extra income on their existing drive home.”

Reassuring the public that this will be a voluntary scheme, Lore said, “Associates are fully in control of their experience,” said Lore. “If they don’t want to participate, they don’t have to. If they choose to opt in, we’ve built technology that allows them to set preferences.

“Associates choose how many packages they can deliver, the size and weight limits of those packages and which days they’re able to make deliveries after work – it’s completely up to them, and they can update those preferences at any time.

“We also allocate packages based on minimizing the collective distance they need to travel off of their commute to make a delivery.”

Walmart is “starting small” with two test stores in New Jersey and one in northwest Arkansas and Lore said that the “response from associates and customers has been great”.

Lore added: “Unlike crowdsourced delivery, where the driver has to travel (often out of the way) to pick up the package, then drive the full distance to deliver it, our associates are starting at the same place as the packages. Once they’re done working at the store for the day, they pick up the packages from the backroom, load them into their vehicle, enter the delivery addresses into the GPS on their phone and head toward home.”

While the trial may be small-scale at the moment, Lore argued that the scheme could make a real impact if were extended nationally.

“Walmart has strength in numbers with 4,700 stores across the U.S. and more than a million associates,” said Lore. “Our stores put us within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population. Now imagine all the routes our associates drive to and from work and the houses they pass along the way. It’s easy to see why this test could be a game-changer.”
 
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