Walmart is exploring eCommerce innovations, which will offer customers more ways to get home delivery, according to a company blog post.
The company is building more automated fulfillment centers attached to existing stores. It will also be experimenting with autonomous trucks and using its own workers to make deliveries, along with expanding a service where staffers can leave packages inside homes.
In addition, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) wrote that Walmart execs want to keep the retailer growing as other competitors like Amazon and well-funded startups amp up their deliveries.
eCommerce growth exploded during the pandemic. Growth has been a bit less robust in recent months as in-person shopping returned. Amazon said its online sales fell 1% in the recent quarter, and Walmart reported sales rising 1% year over year in the quarter ending Jan. 28.
“When customers realize they need an item, do they think of Walmart first?” said Tom Ward, a longtime Walmart executive who was recently named the head of its U.S. eCommerce operations, per WSJ. “The reason they do or they should is we built these things.”
Walmart boosted its plans for eCommerce as the pandemic hit, with Chris Nicholas, COO of Walmart U.S., saying there was “a plan, an investment plan, a growth plan, but COVID kind of changed the pace of that,” WSJ reported.
Walmart has debuted a three-week program of sales, intending to bolster its members and keep existing ones on the Walmart+ subscription service. The sales began Thursday (Feb. 24). Some items will be discounted as much as 40%.
Walmart+ was debuted in September 2020, growing during the initial COVID shutdowns.