With business competition now leaning towards technology, Walmart is looking to claim its space and create the same prominence in e-commerce, just like it has in the brick and mortar retail field.
It has to maintain its significance in the business and so it is planning a grocery pick-up service where the company’s customers will be buying their groceries online and then pick them at specific collection points.
Walmart has been offering other services online and did generate US$12.2 billion last year, which is a 22% increase based on its online sales in 2013.
Walmart’s reaction was largely triggered by Amazon’s introduction of the online grocery purchase and pick up service. Amazon Fresh has made Walmart to activate a prior concept of its automated grocery store in Oklahoma City. The service hasn’t been named yet for marketing, but similar to the Amazon one, customers use an app on their mobile phone or online to select, order and then collect them from the kiosk that operates round the clock.
The transaction and pick-up process at Walmart is similar to that of AmazonFresh. When a customer makes an order, it’s sent to a local store near him or her. The employees in the store package the items in ready-to-pick bags, which are places for selection by a kind of a vending machine. On pulling up at the kiosk, the customer will then key in a 5-digit pickup code that will have been sent to them after the payment. The automated machine will then retrieve the bags for the customer.
This service is free although to use it you will need to make a purchase of not less than US$30.
Amazon’s Fast Reaction
The 20 by 80 feet Walmart kiosk is a standalone structure that is being used as a test for the customer’s response, and based on the feedback the project will be expanded more. Amazon Fresh online service is similar to what Walmart says that they have been working on since 2014. Amazon however pounced on the concept, introduced it in Seattle and now its live in over 600 stores and expanding further to serve all Amazon’s online customer base.
The Current Market Shares
AmazonFresh’s network of stores is currently serving major cities like New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle Philadelphia and Chicago. Walmart on the other hand has at least an automated store in each state. For Walmart to compete seriously with Amazon, it ought to do away with the minimum order charge, and get their employees to bring the purchases to the customers’ car rather than having them to use the automated vendor machine.
The grocery delivery war is becoming more exciting by day. We can only try the offered services to find out who between the two is offering the best deal.