Traditional retail is taking a real hammering from online only sellers but there are signs of a fightback being on the cards. This week has seen Wal-Mart announce one of its latest initiatives that will see consumers get a discount on thousands of items ordered online if the shoppers pick them up at their nearest store. In what many commentators see as a very clever move, this initiative will see shoppers able to enjoy the ease of online shopping whilst Wal-Mart is able to make use of its thousands of stores across the United States of America.
The genius behind the idea is revealed when you consider that because of how the scheme works, the bigger and more expensive the item the customer buys, the more of a discount that they receive. But this isn’t just simple discounting, Wal-Mart’s scheme removes the last mile cost of delivery. This accounts for a big chunk of the cost to ship products to individual homes, so giving customers a discount for shopping online and picking up at their local store is a ‘win-win’ situation for both store and consumer.
The new initiative comes after the introduction of no-membership-required free two-day shipping on two million items and the company have revealed that they plan to have one million of its most popular goods and items available with a pickup discount.
Speaking about the initiative, Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. e-Commerce said: “When we leverage our fleet of more than 6,700 trucks to deliver products directly from fulfilment centres to our 4,700 stores, this means quite simply, it costs less for us to ship to stores. So, our customers should share in those savings.”
Wal-Mart’s new shopping initiatives will run in conjunction with a streamlining process that will see reductions in the numbers of its workforce although it hasn’t ruled out adding positions where necessary. Speaking to FOX Business, Wal-Mart spokesperson Randy Hargrove said:
“We will continue to look at the company and there could be more positions down the road that we eliminate, there could be positions we add. Look at the online business: We’ve got online grocery, pickup in store – those are examples of where we’ve added because the business is changing as we become a more digital company.”
The job cuts at Wal-Mart have been quite extensive to date however and it is estimated that over 18,000 jobs have been lost in the last twelve months. This is the result of its reducing store portfolio as it tries to build-out its ecommerce operations. However, Randy Hargrove was quick to point out that whilst 18,000 may have been lost, many of the people had found work elsewhere in the Wal-Mart group and that there are plans to create 10,000 jobs in the next 12 months.