-Nicholas Connell-

Walmart, the famous American superstore, plans to change the way people across the United States shop for groceries. In an article by Sarah Halzack of the Washington Post, we get a glimpse of their plans and reasoning behind a shift in shopping ideology.

Home delivery of groceries in the U.S. promised to be the next big thing in shopping, with services like Giant Peapod and Amazon Pantry. But research now estimates that only two percent or less of grocery sales in the U.S. are from online shopping accounts. Online grocery shopping and home delivery were supposed to be the ultimate in convenience, and essentially fell flat.

Many retail book and music sellers were all but destroyed by the online migration of shoppers, so where does this grocery shopping model go wrong and how does Walmart plan to improve it?

First of all, home delivery of groceries relies on the presence of the shopper at home. Groceries often contain perishables and so especially depending on the season, an entire purchase could be spoiled without refrigeration. This simple fact requires that shoppers be home, waiting to accept their purchases, wasting time they could spend at work or enjoying leisure activities.

To get around this problem Walmart has begun testing a new online grocery shopping service where instead of home delivery, customers get car delivery. Walmart plans to take advantage of their expansive network of stores, more than 4,600 of them by offering parking lot delivery. Shoppers select items on their phone, select a pick up time, pull into a marked parking space, and their groceries are delivered directly to the car. This way the customer gets the product the way they prefer, lower transportation costs and boosting customer service.

With this method the company is taking advantage of its main asset, a massive preexisting network of stores. 90 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart. Add this to the fact the Americans in suburban communities spend a lot of time on the road commuting, and parking lot pickup starts to make a lot of sense. The service is currently being tested at locations around the U.S. Maybe soon we will see other competitors adopt the same strategy.