In a move designed to save on shipping costs while offering flexibility to customers, Walmart will begin offering discounts when shoppers opt to pick up an online order in store.
The program, Pickup Discount, will initially be available on 10,000 items when it launches April 19, then expand to more than 1 million items by the end of June. Excluded from the discounting are items sold on Walmart's third-party marketplace.
"We're creating price transparency to empower customers to shop smarter and choose what’s best for them," said Marc Lore, President and CEO of Walmart U.S. E-commerce, in a blog post announcing the move. "Now they can either pick up and save even more money, or ship two-day for free to home, without paying for a membership."
Lore said Walmart will tap Jet.com’s “smart cart” technology which delivers savings by giving customers options at checkout. Pickup Discount will leverage Walmart’s fleet of more than 6,700 trucks to ship orders to its 4,700 stores for pickup, eliminating the substantial last-mile costs and passing some of the savings along.
At checkout, Walmart shoppers can opt for a store pickup and see the savings. For instance, someone buying a Vizio HDTV listed at $1,698 will save $50 by choosing store pickup.
Can this help Walmart gain ground on Amazon and its Prime juggernaut? Time will tell. The company is betting that whatever is lost in revenue from discounted items will be more than made up for in supply chain efficiency. It’s also wagering that customers will respond positively to the buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) model, which many retailers are looking to as a way to help them wring profitability out of costly omnichannel fulfillment.