by Steven Musil April 11, 2017 11:16 PM PDT @stevenmusil
Walmart has opened a new battlefront in its price war with Amazon, and now it's enlisting its online shoppers.
The retailer's new "Walmart Pickup" promises to lower the prices on 1 million online-only items if consumers pick up their purchases at a local store rather than opting for home delivery. The salvo reflects Walmart's belief that its network of physical stores gives it a leg up on its online-only retail rivals.
What kind of discounts can consumers expect in exchange for their flexibility? How about a 70-inch 4K Vizio television priced at $1,698 coming with a $50 discount?
"Pickup is about serving you where you are," Mark Ibbotson, executive vice president of Walmart's central operations, wrote in a blog post Tuesday night. "Ninety percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, and we serve more than 140 million customers a week, which gives us a unique opportunity to make every day a little easier for busy families."
Walmart has been trying for years to become a more significant player in e-commerce, pouring billions of dollars into its warehouse infrastructure and website. But, so far, it's had little to show for it, with its e-commerce sales growth slowing in most recent quarters.
The new campaign appears to be borne out of the influence of Marc Lore, the founder of online retailer Jet.com who became Walmart's chief of e-commerce when the big-box retailer closed its $3.3 billion acquisition of the e-commerce retailer last September.
Jet distinguished itself by offering real-time discounts to customers for purchasing more items from the same warehouse and for waiving free returns, both of which saved Jet money. The company developed a complex algorithm to power these discounts, likening it to a real-time trading platform.
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