After announcing an experimental plan last year for store employees to deliver online orders following their shifts for extra pay, Walmart has since retreated from the original pilot. But the retailer is now testing a delivery service with employees at a store in Georgia, Reuters reported.
The new service is a more modest iteration, with only four employees reportedly participating. In addition, Walmart is updating its guidelines for the new service and gearing it toward groceries and complementary items, such as paper plates. A spokesperson for Walmart told Reuters that the retailer did conclude its first delivery experiment in 2018, but that the company is “encouraged by what we’re seeing” at its store in Georgia.
In June of last year, Reuters had reported that the original program could have been a way for the retailer to compete with rival Amazon by cutting shipping costs, speeding up the delivery of packages and allowing workers to earn additional money. And Walmart’s stores are within 10 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population.
“Imagine all the routes our associates drive to and from work and the houses they pass along the way. It’s easy to see why this test could be a game changer,” Marc Lore, head of Walmart’s eCommerce operations, had said.
Since joining in August of last year, Lore has overseen Walmart’s acquisition of three online retailers — including the $3 billion purchase of his former company, Jet.com — and made other eCommerce changes. Walmart now offers free two-day shipping on online orders above $35, without any membership fees, to compete with Amazon’s popular Prime shipping program.
The company explained that the trucks used to deliver eCommerce packages to retail locations for store pickup can also bring additional orders that a worker can then sign up to deliver. The voluntary program allowed store workers to sign up for a maximum of 10 deliveries per day.