Search By Topic The Green Supply Chain Distribution Digest
Supply Chain Digest Logo

Category: Distribution and Materials Handling

Supply Chain News: Walmart Investing in Store Fulfillment Technology, while Offering its Delivery Services to Other Retailers


Walmart and Start Ups Chasing Delivery in Minutes

March 1, 2022


SCDigest Editorial Staff

Eventually the laws of physics will take hold, but we appear to be heading to a world ecommerce deliveries in a matter of minutes.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

All this even as ecommerce sales growth appears to be taking a pause after a torrid run during and after the pandemic.

What do you say?

Click here to send us your comments
Click here to see reader feedback

A number of well-funded start-ups have been pushing this “ultra-fast” delivery envelope, companies including Jokr, Gorillas, GoPuff, and Drizly, who all target customers receiving their orders in 10 to 60 minutes.

But that hardly means large retailers are not chasing the same goals.

Walmart, for one, has its eyes set to delivering in minutes, according to new company ecommerce head Tom Ward. He also told the Wall Street Journal recently that “Delivery in two days is kind of an ecommerce parity these days. One day is pretty cool, same-day day is really impressive and sub-same day is even more impressive.”

But there are of course two primary components of delivery times: how long it takes to process or pick and pack an order, and then the timeo transport and deliver that order, whether processed at a distribution center or retail store.

For Walmart, looking to drive down total times, that increasingly means fulfillment from its stores, closer to customers than a DC, combined with automation in those stores to reduce the picking and packing cycle times.

SCDigest has reported a couple of times on Walmart’s tests of s0-called “micro-fulfillment” systems in its store backrooms or added space. Though coming in different flavors, micro-fulfillment systems in general are characterized by high density SKU storage in a relatively small space – maybe 10,000 square feet - and use of a shuttle system that put away and selects products for customer orders at high speed, delivering them to work stations where humans assemble the items into grocery bags.

Apparently, the tests have been successful. The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart is building around 100 automated small fulfillment centers attached to existing stores in the next few years that will use the micro-fulfillment technology.


Alphabot Mico-Fulfillment Storage Grid in Walmart Store Backroom


(See More Below)




Doing efulfillment for Other Retailers

Interestingly, Walmart recently announced its GoLocal service, in which the company will offer last-mile delivery business to other retailers. It calls the offer a “white label” program, in which consumers will think the delivery is coming from a local grocery chain and not Walmart. The appeal is that this could give local retailers a chance to compete on delivery times with Amazon and others.

But retail giant Home Depot is also said to be testing the GoLocal program.

The Journal also reports that Walmart is testing autonomous delivery vans that move products short distances on two routes, one near Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., and another in New Orleans.

The driverless trucks travel a short distance between a small grocery warehouse and a Walmart store where orders are picked up by shoppers or by delivery workers.
For safety reasons, currently the vans take a circuitous route using only right turns to avoid the relative risk of crossing traffic with a left turn. The vehicles are programmed to travel slightly slower than the flow of traffic.

All this even as ecommerce sales growth appears to be taking a pause after a torrid run during and after the pandemic. Amazon’s on-line sales actually fell 1% in Q4, while Walmart’s US ecommerce business rose just 1% in the quarter ending January 28.


What do you think of Shopify's fulfillment plans? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button below (email) or in the Feedback section.




Follow Us

Supply Chain Digest news is available via RSS
RSS facebook twitter youtube
bloglines my yahoo
news gator


Subscribe to our insightful weekly newsletter. Get immediate access to premium contents. Its's easy and free
Enter your email below to subscribe:
Join the thousands of supply chain, logistics, technology and marketing professionals who rely on Supply Chain Digest for the best in insight, news, tools, opinion, education and solution.
Home | Subscribe | Advertise | Contact Us | Sitemap | Privacy Policy
© Supply Chain Digest 2006-2021 - All rights reserved