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Walmart turns to its staff to deliver

Walmart has turned to its staff to help with package deliveries with an initial trial proving successful, according to the retailer.

The company has delivered ‘hundreds’ of deliveries in a test of the system in three stores in New Jersey and Arkansas for the last month or so according to the company which says that the system simply ‘makes sense’.

As part of the initiative store employees who decide to take part are given packages and the delivery address – which will generally be on their way home from work – at the end of their shifts so that they can deliver the items without going too far out of their way. It also helps to extend the retailer’s reach into surburban and rural communities, the retailer said.

Marc Lore, Walmart’s head of ecommerce operations, said that the move would cut shipping costs, speed up delivery times and allow its staff to earn extra money. Staff can sign up for a maximum of 10 deliveries a day.

“It just makes sense,” said Lore. “We already have trucks moving orders from fulfilment centres 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.”

“Associates are fully in control of their experience. 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 minimising the collective distance they need to travel off of their commute to make a delivery.”

The company employees more than 1.5 million associates in its 4,700 US stores and 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart outlet.

The company has also linked with car-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft to help deliver groceries to its customers and has launched free two-day shipping on more than two million items with no membership fee as well as a discount for customers picking up online orders in store.

Centiro CEO Niklas Hedin said that the initiative was an impressive one, despite its simplicity. “This might seem like a low-tech solution, but it is a great example of a retailer seizing control of deliveries. Today there are greater pressures on retailers’ delivery capabilities than ever before and if customers’ expectations aren’t met, they will simply shop elsewhere in the future. By reclaiming some responsibility from carriers, retailers can ensure they do not lose control of the last mile; this will allow them to create a robust full-circle brand customer experience, moving forward confident that they are in control of their own destiny,” he said.

Image credit: Walmart