Walmart asking employees to deliver online orders

In the battle of retail dominance Walmart figures it has one thing Amazon doesn't- lots of stores and even more employees

Employees may soon bring it right to your doorstep.The company said Thursday it was testing a program under which store employees will deliver goods to consumers on their way home, as it competes for business with Amazon and other online retailers. The new program is created to solve the challenges associated with the last-mile of delivery, which include "cutting shipping costs and getting packages to their final destinations faster and more efficiently", said Walmart's USA digital chief Marc Lore.

This testing program is now limited to three Walmart stores in Arkansas and New Jersey.

"Walmart is uniquely qualified, uniquely positioned, to be able to offer this", he said, adding that 90 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store.

"Now imagine all the routes our associates drive to and from work and the houses they pass along the way", Lore wrote.

Lore called it a game-changer in Wal-Mart's ability to use its stores to move ahead in e-commerce.

Packages are also allocated based on minimizing the collective distance an employee needs to travel off of their commute to make a delivery. But Walmart is testing an entirely new program that could turn their 11,723 locations around the world into, in effect, distribution centers. "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 Global Positioning System on their phone and head towards home".

Under the plan, associates will deliver some orders on their way home using their own vehicles.

Still, Lore seems convinced that the new delivery program marries Walmart's brick-and-mortar strengths with its growing online prowess - courtesy of Lore's company, which Walmart bought previous year for $3 billion - in a way that's ultimately good for customers.

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The decision, however, could prove controversial for a company that has been criticized in the past for its labor practices, said Krista Garcia, a retail analyst with eMarketer.

Walmart has also been rapidly expanding its grocery pickup program, in which shoppers retrieve online orders in the parking lots of nearby stores.

Well Walmart is jumping into this space but is using assets it already has; its employees. The set-up is allowing many orders to be delivered next day, and associates appreciate the opportunity to earn more money, he said.

So far, "the response from associates and customers has been great", Lore said.

Walmart has been engaged in a pitched battle with Amazon, and it has been taking a flurry of steps to cut down the time it takes for customers to get their orders while also paring costs. Amazon had 33 percent in the online sales of the U.S a year ago; Walmart seeing a second position with just 7.8 percent, followed by eBay.

With 4,700 stores across the United States and more than a million employees, Walmart has it covered.

Earlier this year, it went after Amazon's Prime member customers by lowering the minimum purchase to $25 for two-day free shipping.

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