NEW YORK (AP) - Wal-Mart is testing a same-day delivery
service in select markets for customers who buy popular items online during the
holiday shopping season.
The move comes as the world's largest retailer faces
increasing competition from online giants like Amazon.com., which is testing
same-day delivery service in 10 markets. The Bentonville, Ark.-based discounter
is trying to cater to Web-savvy shoppers who are demanding more convenience.
Wal-Mart's tests started this month in northern Virginia
and Philadelphia. The program rolled out to Minneapolis on Tuesday. Wal-Mart
plans to test the service in San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., later this
month or in early November.
The program builds on a same-day grocery delivery launch
in April 2010 in San Jose, followed by a test in San Francisco over the past
About 5,000 general merchandise items, including
flat-panel TVs, toys and Apple iPads, will be available for same-day shipping.
The delivery charge is $10 for an unlimited number of items, with no minimum
purchase. For those who live in San Francisco and San Jose, shoppers will be
required to have a minimum order of $45.
"This builds on a testament to try to provide greater
convenience to our customers," said Amy Lester, Wal-Mart spokeswoman. She said
that right now, the company has no immediate plans to roll out the service to
"This is truly to learn and better understand what our
customers want," Lester added.
In a recent Wal-Mart customer survey, the majority of
respondents said they would consider same-day delivery if available, and more
than half said they would use it monthly or more frequently. Also, the survey
found that electronics, toys, video games, movies and groceries were among the
items shoppers wanted delivered.
Wal-Mart's service works this way: Customers place orders
up until noon and then choose a four-hour window to receive the delivery the
same day. Wal-Mart is using UPS delivery trucks to deliver the merchandise. For
the San Francisco and San Jose markets, shoppers have to order by 7 a.m. that
day to receive those items. Wal-Mart is using its own delivery trucks in those
In April, Wal-Mart rolled out a program that allows online
shoppers who don't want to use their credit cards to order goods online and then
pay with cash at the local Wal-Mart store. Company officials said the program
has fared well. It also has a program called Site to Store where shoppers order
online, then pick up the products at the local store.
Amazon.com began testing same-day delivery service in
2009. The program is now available in 10 markets, including Chicago and
Brian Sozzi, chief equities analyst at NBG Productions,
said that if Wal-Mart is able to blanket the same-day delivery service across
the country and at the same time continue to open smaller stores, "that is a
powerful model not only in the fight against Amazon, but also dollar stores."
Dollar stores, whose parking lots and stores are less than one-tenth the size of
most Wal-Marts, have remained a threat to Wal-Mart because of their
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., operates
more than 4,000 stores in the U.S.
Tom Crawford is a member of the Meteorological Society. He has been awarded the Seal of Approval from the American Meteorological Society and has been recognized as SC's Best Weathercaster by the AP.More >>
Tom Crawford is a member of the Meteorological Society. Tom has been awarded the Seal of Approval from the American Meteorological Society and has been recognized as South Carolina's Best Weathercaster by the Associated Press.More >>