October 11, 2012
Same-day Delivery Is Wal-Mart’s Next Frontier
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Wal-Mart is testing same-day delivery service for online purchases in several cities across the United States, in a bid to outmaneuver Amazon ahead of the upcoming holiday shopping season.
The same-day delivery service, known as Wal-Mart To Go, allows customers to order specific items and gifts and have them delivered the same day. Customers must place their order by noon, and can select a 4-hour window from 4 p.m. onward for delivery. There is a $10 service charge and no minimum purchase requirement.
Wal-Mart said the test is already underway in Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis, and will soon be rolled out in San Francisco and San Jose, California, by early November.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company has been testing same-day delivery of groceries for more than two years in San Jose, California, and now offers the service in San Francisco as well. But this is the first time the retailer is offering same day delivery of general merchandise.
Wal-Mart To Go is possible because the merchandise is being shipped directly from local Wal-Mart stores. The company said that United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) would provide the delivery service, except in San Jose and San Francisco, where Wal-Mart will use its existing grocery-delivery service.
Although Wal-Mart said the test is a trial run for the upcoming holiday season, it did not announce a specific end-date for the program.
Amazon has offered same-day delivery for some items to limited areas since 2009, but said in July it could not economically scale the service.