In its largest retail push of the season, Walmart is qualifying more items than ever before for its buy online, pick up in-store offerings, according to Thursday (Dec. 7) news from CNBC.
To meet customer needs during the biggest shopping season of the year, Walmart customers will be able to shop for a longer list of items labeled with “Free Pickup Today” on the company’s website. Those items can then be retrieved at nearby brick-and-mortar locations.
The service will even be offered for last-minute necessities in time for the Christmas holiday. If orders are placed online before 4:00 P.M. on Dec. 23, they can be retrieved in-store until 6:00 P.M. local time on Christmas Eve.
“We started the season by promising more,” said Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S. “We know the vast majority of our customers are still shopping, and there is no more important time to deliver on our promise than the final days before Christmas.”
Ninety percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a brick-and-mortar Walmart location. The company has seen same-day orders more than double during the weeks leading up to the holiday shopping festivities, with its stores being transformed into fulfillment centers for what Walmart says have been “millions” of online purchases.
In fact, the company has more than tripled the amount of merchandise on its website, listing more than 70 million items for sale.
Other holiday Walmart moves include partnering with Lord & Taylor to offer a Walmart.com “store within a store” for the Hudson Bay brand’s products. Walmart also announced it will be adding unloaded gift cards to some of its orders placed online, giving shoppers the option to add funds to the cards at a later time if they realize they’ve missed someone on their shopping list or need a last-minute gift.
Amazon has launched a similar program through its Whole Foods stores.
The eCommerce giant has yet to compete with Walmart’s proliferation in the buy online, pick up in-store space, though. It allows its members to purchase items through its eCommerce platform and pick them up in some physical stores or at set Amazon lockers, but it so far cannot match Walmart’s more than 3,500 locations nationwide.
Best Buy, Kohl’s, Target and more have made their own forays into buy online, pick up in store, however, and have also worked to create a better digital experience — including expanded inventory — in their online stores.