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Walmart Testing In-Store Lockers for Online Deliveries

By - Source: Reuters | B 5 comments

This locker testing by Walmart may be related to Google's own Amazon Prime competitor.

Something smells a little Googly even if it has Walmart's name stamped all over it.

Neil Ashe, chief executive of Walmart's e-commerce unit, said on Tuesday that the company plans to test the use of in-store lockers for holding goods that are ordered online. Testing will begin this summer, and is in response to Amazon, which is now installing lockers in physical retail stores like Staples for secure online ordering and pick-ups.

So, how are Walmart's summer plans possibly related to Google? The latter acquired shopping locker service BufferBox in late November. The Waterloo, Ontario-based start-up provides users with temporary lockers in central locations that accept packages from online merchants. Once a package arrives, the user receives an email containing a one-time-use code. Once the package is acquired, the locker is used for another customer.

Google is also silently working on Google Shopping Express, an Amazon Prime competitor that will undercut the rival service by $10 to $15 per year. It will supposedly provide same-day delivery from local brick-and-mortar stores like Target, Walgreens, Safeway and… you guessed it… Walmart.

With all that said, it's no surprise that Walmart is testing lockers for online purchases this summer. Reuters reports that the company is trying to catch up with Amazon, banking on its network of around 4,000 physical stores in the States to give it an edge over the online competitor. Walmart is also beefing up its number of online products to better address shoppers relying on smartphones and tablets.

Kelly Thompson, a Wal-Mart merchandising executive, told Reuters on Tuesday that the product assortment on Walmart's website increased 35-percent to 40-percent, growing to two million items in 2012. Walmart plans to double that amount in 2013.

So far it's unknown when Google plans to launch its Amazon Prime competitor, but this latest news surrounding Walmart indicates that testing will continue on through the summer. Tom Fallows, an e-commerce product manager at Google, is reportedly running the show in an effort to focus Google's e-commerce initiatives.

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  • 5 Hide
    ddpruitt , March 27, 2013 8:10 AM
    I don't think Wal-Mart gets it. People go there because they're cheap not because they're sophisticated (in any sense of the word). Entirely different demographics. I think they would have figured it out because their Ship-To-Store option, which is exactly the same thing in a different wrapper, didn't bring in online business.

    Stick with what your good at Wal-Mart.
  • 0 Hide
    Gundam288 , March 27, 2013 8:27 AM
    ddpruittI don't think Wal-Mart gets it.

    Oh but I think they do get it. This comes off to me as Wal-Mart having too many Site-2-Store products/orders getting stolen.

    Which doesn't supprise me considering I have worked at one before and have had friends who worked at others in different states tell the same storys.

    Free games months before they are released, free bikes, etc etc.
  • 0 Hide
    nordlead , March 27, 2013 8:45 AM
    Gundam288Oh but I think they do get it. This comes off to me as Wal-Mart having too many Site-2-Store products/orders getting stolen. Which doesn't supprise me considering I have worked at one before and have had friends who worked at others in different states tell the same storys.Free games months before they are released, free bikes, etc etc.

    How is it going to stop employees from stealing the deliveries? Employees should be the only ones aware of site-2-store deliveries outside of the person who ordered it, so I would guess they are the ones stealing the items.
  • Display all 5 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    azgard , March 27, 2013 10:47 AM
    nordleadHow is it going to stop employees from stealing the deliveries? Employees should be the only ones aware of site-2-store deliveries outside of the person who ordered it, so I would guess they are the ones stealing the items.


    Because they will now be locked up, not sitting in a common area where anyone can snatch and grab, employee will have to verify that packages went into locker, missing packages employee is now on the hook, get it?
  • 0 Hide
    tajisi , March 28, 2013 3:02 AM
    So, instead of waiting 30 minutes for the one frantic associate in their electronics area to get back to the site-to-store counter to help me, I can now wait 30 minutes at the electronics register or game case for an unlock because the only associate in the area has been pulled to do this? Great job, Walmart! Now we'll just be ignored and have to wait longer because some moron decided to tie up your only available store associate by ordering a bunch of crap online. This was always the flaw of Pick-up-today. They are too cheap to hire people for the job and instead yank people that will leave other areas without coverage. The only S2S I use is direct to home, which isn't too bad.
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