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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. launched its Walmart Pickup Grocery service in its hometown of Bentonville this week, reported the City Wire. A grand-opening ceremony took place Monday morning at the warehouse site located near the intersection of J Street and S. Walton Boulevard.
Walmart employees tested the new format in recent weeks, leading to the expansion of the test with registered customers, who must sign up online. Once registered, customers can place an order from the website, which offers approximately 10,000 grocery and consumable products, including fresh meat, dairy and common household goods.
Customers then schedule a pickup time ranging from two hours to three weeks after placing the order. When they drive to one of the kiosk stations at the pickup site, they notify an attendant, who brings the order to their car. There are no hidden fees or surcharges, according to Walmart.
"We know at Wal-Mart, our customers' needs are changing," spokeswoman Deisha Barnett told the news outlet when the format was announced in April. "They want and need more shopping options and we have the means to give them low prices, wide assortments, along with value and convenience in a seamless shopping experience."
She added that Walmart Pickup Grocery is not meant to replace traditional stock-up shopping trips at Walmart supercenters and Neighborhood Market stores.
The retailer said it will begin extending invitations to try the same-day service via email.
Walmart looked to the model of British grocery store chain ASDA when developing the new format, according to Judith McKenna, chief development officer at Walmart U.S. and chief operating officer for Asda Stores Ltd. "ASDA customers have moved quickly to online and pickup grocery models. A program called Click & Collect was not available two years ago. It's in 300 stores now and will be in 600 stores by next year," McKenna said.
Population density is necessary for a home delivery option to make financial sense, but click-and-collect models could find favor in commuter markets, McKenna explained, noting that the Bentonville location is a trial, but evidence suggests this model has possibilities in other places.
The mini warehouse format is one of many tests Walmart is conducting regarding consumer sentiment toward delivery options vs. pickup services for groceries, according to the report.
Its home delivery tests in Denver went well, but the company learned that more consumers are just as likely to pick up online orders at their own convenience for no added fees. In the Denver market, the home delivery fee ranges from $5 to $10.