Drastic times call for drastic measures, and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is facing stronger competition than ever from the likes of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). In efforts to speed up delivery times and save on shipping costs, the Bentonville-based low-cost king is proposing a truly drastic measure: shipping online orders to customers via shoppers who are in the store anyways.
Sometimes, a company announces something so out of the ordinary that it attracts double takes, and this is one of those times.
Upon closer examination, turning customers into couriers may not be as outlandish as it sounds. Numerous start-up businesses have dedicated themselves to helping people maximize the efficiency of their belongings, such as a spare room in their house, their car, or even a cocktail dress. Wal-Mart, in effect, would be applying a similar principle to its shoppers. A person could rent out space in his vehicle and deliver an order or two in exchange for some sort of compensation.
Of course, there are tremendous legal and liability issues to consider here, to say nothing of privacy problems. Wal-Mart says this is still in the earliest of stages of development, and the nuts and bolts have not been figured out yet…