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Walmart starts testing online grocery shopping with in-store pickup

Covered in detail by Techcrunch, national retailer Walmart has started beta testing online grocery shopping at eleven selected Denver locations. Basically, customers in Denver are now able to shop for groceries online, place an order for in-store pickup and simply drive to the location to pick up their order. At the store, customers don’t even have to get out of the car. They first drive to a pre-selected spot at the store and contact the Walmart staff by dialing a number on their phone or using a nearby touchscreen kiosk. Customers that visit a Walmart location with a drive-through pharmacy window will be directed to that location to pick up their order.

Similar to Walmart’s standard online ordering system, the retailer will contact the customer when an order is ready to be picked up. It’s likely that Walmart will designate a location within the store to pick up the online order, assuming the customer needs to pick up a few more items in addition to what they originally ordered. According to data collected by Walmart, 55 percent of shoppers preferred a in-store pickup option over home delivery because they were able to grab a few things that were missed in the first order.

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In addition to in-store pickup, Denver is also one of the few selected areas around the country that offers a home delivery service for groceries. Customers can place an order for same-day delivery and pay between $5 to $10 to receive that order immediately. However, Walmart customers must spend at least $30 in order to qualify for home delivery. 

Assuming the in-store pickup experiment with online grocery shopping is a success, it would be relatively simple to roll out the program nationwide and take advantage of the numerous Walmart locations within heavily populated areas of the country. According to Techcrunch, approximately 66 percent of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of a Walmart store. In heavily populated areas, it’s likely that customers are near multiple Walmart stores within a 5 mile radius. 

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