No plastic, no problem. That's the message from Walmart, which has announced a new initiative that allows consumers to go online to place orders and then pay for them with cash in its 3,800 stores across the U.S.
The "Pay with Cash" program is the first of its kind from a major retailer, according to Walmart, and gives consumers without access to a debit or credit card the ability to make purchases from an inventory that goes well beyond what is found in the chain's stores. Shoppers go to one of the chain's stores to pay within 48 hours of placing an order. The items are then shipped to them at their home or local store.
Walmart, which has built its business by offering products and services catering to unbanked consumers, believes the new program will enable it to solidify its position in the marketplace. A press release to announce the program cited a study conducted by Javelin Strategy and Research, which found that 81 percent of unbanked consumers have access to the internet.
"Many of our customers shop paycheck to paycheck and are looking for more ways to purchase items online but don't have the means to a credit, debit or prepaid card," said Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com, in a statement. "[Pay with Cash] makes it easier for our customers to shop the way they want, where they have access to a broader product selection at Walmart.com coupled with the convenience of payment and shipping as they want."
Walmart said cash is the preferred method of payment for the vast majority of its shoppers.
"The fact that only 15 percent of our transactions are done in the form of credit at our stores means there's a large percentage of Walmart customers who are dependent on cash to transact online. We definitely think it is a big opportunity," Mr. Anderson told All Things Digital.
How big an opportunity do services allowing online consumers to pay with cash represent for retailers?