Will an in-store pickup discount give Walmart an edge over Amazon?
Marc Lore, head of Walmart’s e-commerce operations in the U.S., says that one of the things he loves about his employer is its “maniacal focus” on its customers and the way it goes about “finding ways to offer them low prices — every day.” The most recent evidence, according to a company blog post written by Mr. Lore, is “Pickup Discount,” a new program that gives customers a price break for ordering select items online at Walmart.com and picking them up in one of the chain’s 4,700 stores.
The new discount, going into effect on April 19, will initially be available on 10,000 items. By the end of June, more than one million items will be eligible. Discounts are expected to range between three and five percent of regular prices depending on the item.
Walmart offered examples of the deals consumers will get with its pickup discount, such as the LEGO City Great Vehicles Ferry, 60119, which will cost $23.99 when delivered and $21.44 when picked up.
“We’re creating price transparency to empower customers to shop smarter and choose what’s best for them. Now, they can either pick up and save even more money, or ship two-day for free to home, without paying for a membership,” wrote Mr. Lore.
Mr. Lore said Walmart can offer the discount because it cuts costs by delivering products directly from fulfillment centers to stores. The program is part of a broader effort by the company to make it more convenient and less expensive for customers to shop.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How effective will Walmart’s Pickup Discount program be in shifting online purchases from home delivery to in-store pickup? Will the discount help give Walmart the edge it has been looking for over Amazon.com? How do you think Amazon will respond?