Can Walmart workers deliver better last mile results on their way home from work?
Walmart is putting its store associates to work in a whole new way. The world’s largest retailer is testing a home delivery program that has associates dropping off online orders to customers on their way home after work. The test is being conducted at a store in Arkansas and two others in New Jersey.
Writing on the company’s blog, Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce, characterized the test as “a win-win-win for customers, associates and the business.” Packages, he wrote, will get “to their destinations faster and more efficiently” while shipping costs will be cut and associates will pick up additional pay.
“It just makes sense: We already have trucks moving orders from fulfillment centers to stores for pickup. Those same trucks could be used to bring ship-to-home orders to a store close to their final destination where a participating associate can sign up to deliver them to the customer’s house.”
Participation in the home delivery program is voluntary. Walmart associates will use proprietary technology to set preferences for “how many packages they can deliver, the size and weight limits of those packages and which days they’re able to make deliveries after work.” The retailer assigns deliveries to associates in a way that minimizes the distance they collectively need to travel.
With 90 percent of the U.S. population living within 10 miles of a Walmart, Mr. Lore thinks using associates to make deliveries could be “a game changer” for the retailer in its competition for market share.
Critics of Walmart’s labor practices say that there aren’t enough details known to determine if the program is a benefit to associates or a way for the company to exploit workers. Walmart has not offered specifics on what it will pay associates for making deliveries and whether gas and related costs will be factored into compensation.
- Testing New Ground with Associate Deliveries – YouTube
- Serving Customers in New Ways: Walmart Begins Testing Associate Delivery – Walmart Today
- Walmart Asks Employees to Deliver Packages On Their Way Home – Bloomberg
- Walmart is asking employees to deliver packages on their way home from work – The Washington Post
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see Walmart’s use of employees to make deliveries on their way home from work as a potential last mile game changer for the retailer? What do you see as the benefits and potential pitfalls of this program?