TECHNOLOGY

Walmart targets holiday procrastinators with something Amazon can’t match

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is leveraging its huge store network to target last-minute shoppers—and by its account, there are plenty of them.

The discounter, which said 84% of Americans are still shopping for the holidays, is making a big push for its same day in-store pickup service. It’s made more items eligible for the service than ever before. Also, customers will be able to shop for qualifying items, notated with “Free Pickup Today,” online until 4 p.m. local time on Dec. 23. The items can be picked up in stores until 6 p.m. on Dec, 24.

The discounter said demand for “Pickup Today” orders double during the last two weeks of the season when its network of 4,000 superstores and discount stores across the nation turn into pickup points for millions of online orders. Ninety percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, making the service a convenient brick-and-mortar pickup option for customers — something that Amazon, even with its Whole Foods acquisition, still doesn’t come close to, at least not yet.

“We started the season by promising more,” stated Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer of Walmart U.S. “We know the vast majority of our customers are still shopping and there is no more important time to deliver on our promise than the final days before Christmas.”

In a new twist this holiday season, Walmart is placing unloaded gift cards in select boxes of orders placed online, encouraging shoppers who need a last-minute gift to go online and load them with amounts starting at $5. The cards will appear in Walmart.com packages for orders placed up until Dec. 17, and through Dec. 24 for Pickup orders.

 

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