“I see a path to where this is crowd-sourced,” says Joel Anderson, chief executive of Walmart.com in the United States, in an interview with Reuters. Wal-Mart has millions of customers visiting its stores each week, he explained. Some of these shoppers could tell the retailer where they live and sign up to drop off packages for online patrons who live on their route back home.
In return, Wal-Mart would offer a discount on that customer’s shopping bill, effectively covering the cost of their gas in return for the delivery of packages, he added.
“This is at the brain-storming stage, but it’s possible in a year or two,” explains Jeff McAllister, senior vice president of Walmart U.S. innovations. Wal-Mart currently uses FedEx (NYSE:FDX) and other delivery services to move products stores to the buyer, and is making a huge push for shipping directly from the stores, rather than a warehouse, to cut down transport costs.
“I’m sure it will be a test in some stores,” said Matt Nemer, an analyst for Wells Fargo Securities. “But they may only keep it for metro markets and for higher-priced items.” He admitted that nation-wide adoption of the program — some 4,000 stores — would be very unlikely.