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Walmart flexes store fleet in bid for 'super fast' online deliveries

Julia La Roche
·Correspondent
·2-min read

Walmart (WMT), the world's largest retailer, is leveraging its biggest competitive advantage — its store fleet — to fulfill its e-commerce orders as online shopping continues to surge throughout the pandemic.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Tom Ward, Walmart's SVP of customer product, said the big-box retailer created a program that routes some of the dot-com orders to be fulfilled directly from its stores instead of an e-commerce fulfillment center. The company will also use its local delivery capabilities to dispatch those orders to customers' homes.

"While our customers won't see a change in the app or a new service they need to select, they will notice that they aren't finding themselves checking for shipping updates or sweating arrival times of gifts. They simply notice their orders are arriving super-fast, even the same day, and maybe in a Walmart bag from a store rather than a Walmart box from Walmart.com," Ward wrote.

A shopper walks down an aisle in a newly opened Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chicago September 21, 2011. The 27,000 square foot (2508 square meters) store is the first in Illinois with an emphasis on groceries and basic household goods.  REUTERS/Jim Young      (UNITED STATES - Tags: FOOD BUSINESS)
A shopper walks down an aisle in a newly opened Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chicago September 21, 2011. The 27,000 square foot (2508 square meters) store is the first in Illinois with an emphasis on groceries and basic household goods. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: FOOD BUSINESS)

As shoppers seek to avoid crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce sales have skyrocketed. Walmart said its online sales rose 79% in the third quarter. In the second quarter, Walmart's online sales jumped 97%.

In the third quarter earnings commentary, CEO Doug McMillon said the company thinks "these new customer behaviors will largely persist."

Walmart operates a fleet of more than 4,700 stores in the U.S. Approximately 90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart. The retailer currently offers delivery across 2,800 of its stores, covering about two-thirds of the country.

"Services like these that we've been building over time allow Walmart to serve customers in ways no other retailer can," Ward added.

Julia La Roche is a correspondent for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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