Walmart is good at giving tools to its associates, but in the past, some associates have not necessarily known how to use them. That's been my experience. I know kiosks would work just as good, Target has proven that concept. I do applaud Walmart for trying to see what customers are not finding in their stores. In theory, this concept of giving associates the tools to help shoppers looks great, executing it well is another matter. Depending on the time of day, associates can be hard to find in a Walmart store. Having the tool available in the customer app would seem to be a way to solve that issue. Walmart scores a point for trying to help shoppers find out-of-stock orders, and for assessing missed sales opportunities with its inventory assortment. We will have to wait and see how well it can be executed by associates who already are being asked to do a lot for minimal pay.
Amazon set the bar high for fast home delivery with its Prime membership and despite the fee, it's still likely a money loser for the retailer. Walmart won't play a money losing game. They have instead focused on offering consumers more choices with respect to how orders are retrieved.
Given there is a Walmart store within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population, BOPIS makes a lot of sense for Walmart. The minimum $35 order to get free online delivery from Walmart.com is about as low as Walmart is willing to go.
Investments in pickup towers, lockers and other means for final-mile or yard continue across the retail spectrum. Given the diverse demands from consumers, retailers should likely have lots of options for order retrieval. While free home delivery is the new benchmark, that doesn't mean retailers should mortgage their future to get there.