Walmart began testing a new service: Walmart Pickup, in late September in their hometown of Bentonville Arkansas. This service allows customers to order their groceries online and then pick them up via ‘drive thru” at a standalone pick up center.
This is an interesting concept that has typically been reserved for products like fast food, medical prescriptions and liquor. The main question is, is this a productive, profitably business plan for the large grocery chain?
Let’s review the pros and cons. Obviously this is the true definition of convenience. No longer would shoppers have to play bumper carts in over crowed grocery aisles, search for where certain items have been moved or wait in line and wonder why there are 30 operational registers and only 5 open. People now days are all about quick and easy tasks. Another benefit of the service is the time saver…. Most people spend anywhere from an hour to 2 hours filling their shopping cart. Being able to log onto a website and select the items on your grocery list would significantly cut back shopping time.
On the other hand and as a corporation, Walmart must consider is this going to help or hurt them? Yes offering your customer a service other grocery chains cannot is appealing but what is the cost? If you sit down at the computer with your grocery list chances are you will be less inclined to make impulse purchases. Without walking up to a checkout list with a slew of magazines, drinks, candy and gum the items may not cross your mind if they aren’t on your list to cross off.
Because this is a free service, it would appear that Walmart is optimistically hoping that the convenience will draw enough shoppers per day to offset the cost of building the custom facility.
What about the people who like to pick for themselves. The people who grab the milk as far back as they can reach, the shopper who carefully looks at every inch of fruit before purchasing, the grill master who believes they know the perfect fat to meat ratio on raw meat? Just like some shoppers won’t purchase clothing without trying it on, a lot of shoppers want to pick out certain grocery items; like their produce and meats themselves.
No plan is full proof what about employee error, mixed up order, what’s the return process? Will having to return incorrect orders erase the original convenience?
Do you think that this will be a profitable way for Walmart to expand their business or do you think that “Walmart Pick-Up Grocery” won’t be seen outside of test city Bentonville? Let us know below.