E-commerce growth pushing Walmart into last-mile delivery
Last week, Northwest Arkansas was electrified with music, visitors from all over the world, and lots of Walmart-related news. The annual Walmart Shareholders meeting is a big event for the region and major news and direction for the company are announced each year.
This year, the retail giant announced that it has been piloting what they are calling a final-mile delivery (same as last-mile delivery) service staffed by current store associates. According to this article from Talk Business, the idea is that associates who sign-up for the extra duty will deliver items to customer’s homes that are along the associate’s route home from work. The deliveries will be made according to the associate’s choosing and the individual will be able to dictate the size of delivery he or she is a comfortable making.
The last-mile or final-mile delivery service has been piloted in three stores (one in Northwest Arkansas) for the last month. Issues such as insurance requirements for associates are still being worked out before a full roll-out is considered.
It’s clear that this move is being made as part of Walmart’s efforts to not only cut expenses but also a major step in enhancing their customers’ e-commerce experience. The company has already made $6 billion of investments to improve e-commerce capabilities and shopping convenience to more customers.
Some of the recent customer-focused changes have included:
- Free two-day shipping on more than two million online items;
- Discounts for customers picking up online orders in stores; and
- Grocery pickup in many global markets and delivery from stores in some markets.
As one of the region’s top last-mile delivery service providers, we at On Time Logistics know the trials of developing a delivery system that meets (even exceeds) customer expectations while also being a benefit to the delivery personnel and saving the client money. In this case, Walmart is its own client and will be delivering to their own customers.
It will be interesting to see if this plan develops and comes to fruition. In our experience, it’s always best to hire a professional logistics company to provide your last-mile delivery services instead of trying to create your own system for this increasingly vital piece of the supply chain. However, as a company with both a solid online and vast storefront presence, Walmart is best prepared to make the move towards providing its own last-mile delivery service compared to most other companies. The company has brought many functions “in house” over the years to various measures of success.
We believe that it’s their size and “in-housing” experience that will be the key to their success, if this pilot program develops. It makes sense that Walmart will still need to work with local last-mile delivery services to manage the larger deliveries that one associate would not be able to make on their own.
Are you a business that isn’t quite as big as Walmart and needing to expand your customer service? Let us help make your e-commerce side of the business more successful by providing our expert last-mile delivery services in Northwest Arkansas and the Tulsa regions.