Walmart has been struggling to compete with shipping perks offered by companies like Amazon. And in its latest attempt to contend,it has turned to employees -- asking them to deliver packages on their way home.
In a previous move to lower its own shipping costs and still remain appealing to customers, Walmart created their "Pickup Discount" program, which lowered the price of online items if buyers agreed to pick them up from a store rather than have them shipped to their home. The company also launched and subsequently killed its Prime-like subscription service. And last year, Walmart bought Jet.com to boost its online shopping presence.
But Amazon is a hefty foe and last month it dropped its free shipping threshold back down to $25, undercutting Walmart's $35 minimum. And with Amazon also beginning to compete in the brick-and-mortar world with its drive-through grocery stores, rumored convenience stores, and book outlets, Walmart will have to compete on multiple fronts.
The employee-delivered shipping service is being tested in three stores -- two in New Jersey and one in Arkansas. For its employees, the program is completely opt-in and the company says those choosing to deliver packages can decide how many they want to take on and on what days. They can also limit the size and weight of their deliveries. It's unclear what the compensation is for the added work, but it's obviously less than what they're paying for typical delivery services.
Walmart says that 90 percent of US residents live within 10 miles of one of its 4,700 stores. But for this new service to work, it will depend on how worthwhile they can make the initiative to its one million employees.