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Walmart Crowdsourcing Plan Uses In-Store Customers To Deliver Online Orders

Walmart Crowdsourcing Plan Uses In-Store Customers To Deliver Online Orders

A Walmart crowdsourcing delivery system plan would have in-store customers delivering online orders for the retail giant.

Usually, when you order online from Walmart the package would be delivered by a UPS, FedEx, or USPS truck. But if Walmart goes ahead with one idea your neighbor might be making the delivery.

Walmarts.com’s CEO reportedly told reporters he sees “a path were this is crowd-sourced.” Online purchases via Walmart.com are expected to hit $9 billion this year. The Senior Vice President of Walmart US innovations says, “This is at the brain-storming stage, but it’s possible in a year or two. You are comfortable with a FedEx or UPS truck in your driveway, but what about a stranger knocking on your door?”

The Consumerist explains that “Walmart customers would sign up to serve as messengers for the company, willing to deliver online orders to customers who are on the way home from the store. They probably wouldn’t be paid a wage for their efforts, but would instead get a discount on their Walmart tab that would cover the cost of fuel.”

This new Walmart crowdsourcing idea would of course have numerous legal, regulatory and privacy obstacles the company would have to clear first. Never mind lost, stolen or damaged items, unreliable messengers, lack of insurance, and other issues related to using non-employees as labor.

This Walmart crowdsourcing delivery system effort is aimed at competing with same-day delivery options being provided by Amazon and Google. If Walmart management decides to pull the trigger, it would take about a year or two to implement. Meanwhile, Walmart is already testing a new service for online buyers that involves installing lockers in about a dozen US stores to hold goods until shoppers pick them up.

What do you think about the Walmart crowdsourcing delivery system idea?

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4 Responses to “Walmart Crowdsourcing Plan Uses In-Store Customers To Deliver Online Orders”

  1. Juan Mario Inca

    Really interesting Patrick, thanks!

    Given your interest, I think that you (and the other readers here) would be really interested in some recent research that I have come across that theorizes about crowds and such similar phenomena.

    It’s called “The Theory of Crowd Capital” and you can download it here if you’re interested: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2193115.

    In my view it provides a powerful, yet simple model, getting to the heart of the matter. Enjoy!

  2. John Zaffino

    This is insane. Not only is it dangerous, it's another ploy to put people out of work by cutting costs. These companies just can't see that all of these job cuts eventually hurts their bottom line.