Last updated: Walmart considers crowdsourcing deliveries

Walmart considers crowdsourcing deliveries


Listen to article

Download audio as MP3

In a radical move, Walmart is considering a plan that would turn customers into a delivery fleet by paying them a small fee to take good directly to other consumers within that store’s geographical area.

The concept isn’t new—a company called Zipments already allows anyone over the age of 18 with a car, access to texts and a PayPal account to act as a courier for local businesses. However, the notion is fraught with legal and security considerations that make it seem an almost insurmountable task to enable.

What happens if customers are hurt during delivery, either in a traffic accident or perhaps a crime? What if the goods are stolen? What if the person delivering goods doesn’t have a valid driver’s license? Who, then, is liable? In some cities, couriers are required to be licensed by the local government.

However, there has been one very good test case for “amateur” delivery, and that’s the pizza-delivery guy. Who hasn’t received a steaming hot pie from a high school kid or someone looking to pick up extra case with a part-time job?

While regular shoppers may not be as reliable as FedEx, there’s a decent argument to be made in favor of “citizen delivery.” It isn’t much different from running to the store as a favor to your neighbor—in this case, it’s a neighbor you haven’t met yet.

If retailers are going to compete with brands like Amazon and eBay, currently experimenting with same-day delivery, they must use the kind of creative thinking Walmart displays by even considering a move like this one.

There’s something to be said for playing it safe, but true ominchannel strategists need to take the kind of calculated risks that have big payoffs.

The future of commerce is:
Are you ready for it?
Get going HERE.

Share this article


Search by Topic beginning with