Last week Amazon announced the purchase of Whole Foods, diving into the brick and mortar grocery business. Grocery has been the one bright spot in retail lately, and obviously Amazon wants in. Meanwhile big companies like Wal-Mart and Target have been trying to catch up to Amazon. Wal-Mart is taking an unusual step by asking store workers to deliver packages on their way home. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT -4.63% is testing a program in which store workers deliver some orders placed on Walmart.com or Jet.com, a sign of how the retailer hopes to use its 4,700 U.S. stores to its advantage in its battle against Amazon.com Inc.
The test is small, active for just a few weeks in an Arkansas store near Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters and two New Jersey stores near the offices of Jet.com, the discount retailer Wal-Mart bought for $3.3 billion last September. A spokesman said only a few hundred packages have been delivered by store workers so far.
But Wal-Mart’s idea is significant as the largest private employer in the U.S attempts to head off Amazon’s continuing efforts to offer shoppers fast and convenient ways to receive goods at home, including one-hour delivery on thousands of products in 45 cities.
“Imagine all the routes our associates drive [while going] to and from work and the houses they pass along the way,” said Wal-Mart U.S. e-commerce chief Marc Lore in a blog post.
Wal-Mart store workers who have a car and pass a background check can choose to deliver up to 10 packages a day, using a mobile application that suggests orders that would be convenient for their route home. They are paid for the time spent making deliveries, though Wal-Mart declined to say how much they earn or if they remain on the clock during those times. Shoppers won’t know at the time of purchase who will be delivering their order, the spokesman said.
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