In efforts to make food shopping more convenient, Walmart has begun testing Walmart Pickup – Grocery, a new same-day pick up concept. The retailer continues to explore new ways to make shopping faster and more convenient by integrating its digital and physical assets. Located in Bentonville, Arkansas, Walmart Pickup – Grocery offers Walmart’s everyday low prices and enables customers to place grocery orders online and schedule a pickup time at no additional charge. Area customers can register to participate in this test at walmart.com/grocery.
Shopper marketing/ retail expert Susan McCarthy, who is group planning director at shopper engagement agency Shoptology, thinks that this new offering could change the future of the grocery shopping model.
“I've seen the future of grocery shopping and it’s a game changer. In this age of e-comm, most of us can imagine ordering groceries online to have them delivered or picked up within a couple of hours. But it typically comes with a price, even in major metros like New York,” she points out. “Now imagine someone like me – who lives 17 miles from the nearest big box store – being able order online without a hefty service charge, while still getting the best retail grocery price in the market.”
Today, less than 4 percent of grocery spending occurs online. And while that’s predicted to grow, costs are still a big barrier for both retailers (trying to deliver) and shoppers (balancing convenience and value), McCarthy says. “But I was certainly willing to try and was giddy when I received my invitation to be part of the Walmart Pickup Grocery beta test. Then an idea came to me. As a person who lives seven miles from the closest grocery store (and 17 miles to the nearest big box store), could I order all of the ingredients for a holiday dinner online? Thus, the holiday dinner challenge at Walmart Pickup Grocery was born.”
“I gathered up my cookbooks, food-smudged recipe cards and the latest issue of Southern Living and opened the browser instead of heading to town with a nearly two-page list of ingredients. I placed my order at Walmart Pickup Grocery, which allows shoppers to choose the date within a one-hour window for pick up. It only took about an hour to complete my shopping. And in the end, there were only 10 harder-to-find items I couldn’t buy, including a minimally processed fresh turkey and organic turnips – a challenge to find in Northwest Arkansas on any day.”
Walmart Pickup Grocery proved to be a surprise and delight, McCarthy concludes. “As I pulled in for my pick up, I realized this wasn’t just another store. There’s no front entrance or aisles or checkout lanes – no store to shop at all. Instead, it’s a true fulfillment center more reminiscent of a ‘50s drive-in than a traditional Walmart. The building itself is a fraction of the size of a typical Walmart. It features a pick-up area with bright green poles and a large awning that spans several rows of pick-up bays. After entering my name on a digital touch screen, I was directed to pull through to pick-up bay number 7. I waited only three minutes before an associate emerged from a door with all of my groceries, including 50 pounds of dog food. She gave me a quick run-down on my pick-up. For instance, produce and dairy items are kept refrigerated until you arrive. I was also given the option to inspect all of my produce to ensure I was 100% happy. I was. She loaded everything into the back of my car; the whole e
xperience lasted under 10 minutes. I then entered my receipt into the Walmart Savings Catcher app, which meant I didn't have to worry about missing out on other grocer’s holiday deals. I didn’t just get a good price for convenient, online groceries. I got prices that rivaled those who battled physical stores – the very best prices in the market. Bottom line: We’re ready for a terrific holiday dinner with everything that tradition demands. But purchased in a very untraditional way.”