After the pandemic, online shopping boomed. As people avoided crowds, delivery and curbside pickup orders increased with a click. Now in COVID's third year, new cases and online purchases are down. Walmart reported that e-commerce sales for the quarter ending Jan. 28 fell from 69 percent in 2021.
Thankfully, the retailer won't abandon delivery shoppers. Instead, Walmart is making major delivery changes to speed up and compete. Discover Walmart's current activities.
Walmart wants better delivery. Walmart executives told The Wall Street Journal they plan to build a larger, more flexible delivery system that could be sold to smaller retailers.
Walmart's omni-channel tech head, Srini Venkatesan, said executives are planning to revamp the retailer's back end technology to enable delivery growth. "This has been on our minds for three or four years," he said.
Over the next few years, Walmart will build 100 small, automated fulfilment centres attached to existing stores, the newspaper reported. These centres will store and move online purchases using scaffold trucks and mechanical shuttles to batch orders for delivery workers
The executives told The Wall Street Journal that this will help Walmart fulfil more orders and meet demand faster without clogging store aisles with workers picking up online orders.
Walmart is also expanding its in-home delivery service. The Wall Street Journal reports that In-Home Delivery delivers orders to shoppers' homes or fridges. The small team that makes these deliveries must have worked for Walmart for at least a year, pass a background check, and wear body cameras.
Tom Ward, Walmart's head of U.S. e-commerce operations, told the newspaper that some shoppers already use this delivery service because it's more personalised than regular delivery. This delivery feature will be available to around 30 million $148-a-year members by year's end.
That's just two of Walmart's delivery expansion plans. Walmart plans to increase its delivery capacity by 35 percent this year, according to a company spokeswoman. Spark will let contract workers shop for or deliver online orders for Walmart.
The company is also testing autonomous delivery vans on two routes near its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, and New Orleans. The Wall Street Journal reports that autonomous vehicles shuttle shoppers and delivery workers between small grocery warehouses and stores.