Walmart has a new idea for beating the high cost of shipping e-commerce packages – paying store employees to deliver them on their way home.
The program aims at using one of Walmart's biggest assets – more than a million U.S. store employees – to help close its big e-commerce sales gap with Amazon. Walmart has more than 4,700 stores, putting potential delivery nodes within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population.
In a test that launched a month ago in two stores in New Jersey and one in Northwest Arkansas, employees can opt in to deliver packages on their way home for extra pay. They use an app that offers opportunities to deliver up to 10 packages per commute.
In a news conference in Bentonville on Thursday, spokesman Ravi Jariwala said the program is entirely voluntary. He declined to specify the pay, but said finding the right compensation is part of the test. And he said the retailer will comply with all applicable state and federal labor laws, such as those covering overtime.
"It just makes sense," said Walmart E-Commerce chief Marc Lore in a blog post. "We already have trucks moving orders from fulfillment centers to 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 employee can sign up to deliver them to the customer's house."