Walmart to transport shoppers in self-driving cars
Some of Walmart’s online grocery pickup shoppers are entitled to a new perk — a lift back home.
Through a partnership with Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project, Walmart is launching a pilot that will use Waymo vehicles to transport customers to and from a local store to pick up their groceries. The pilot, which is conducted out of one Walmart store in Chandler, Arizona, is being tested among a group of Waymo’s 400 daily users.
Pilot customers place an online grocery pickup order, and Walmart’s personal shoppers fulfill the order based on their designated pickup times. Waymo then transports customers to and from pickup.
“The purpose of all of this [is] to learn,” Tom Ward, VP, digital operations, Walmart U.S., said on its website.
“While giving customers a unique experience with amazing technology, we’re learning how we can make Walmart Online Grocery Pickup even more convenient,” he added. “Waymo’s experience, industry leading technology and mission on safety is helping us enter this space in the right way.”
Walmart offers online grocery pickup in 1,500 locations, and plans to add “hundreds more” stores this year, the company reported.
This is also not Walmart’s first partnership with Google. The discount giant has hundreds of thousands of items available for voice shopping via Google Assistant, the search giant’s online shopping platform that lives on its smart speaker Google Home and other smart devices.
If the point is to save the consumer's time, If the groceries are picked by Walmart, what sense does it make to drive them to a store and then right back home? Just load the groceries into the self-driving car and send it to the consumer's home. Self-driving cars are a neat idea, but to date, are an expensive solution in search of a problem.
Study: In-store spending soars during BOPIS trips
Click-and-collect programs may be a convenient service for customers, but the offering is becoming increasingly valuable for retailers.
When it comes to “superconsumers” (shoppers who used buy online, pickup in-store [BOPIS] at least two times in the past 12 months), 51% made unplanned purchases when they picked up their online orders in-store, compared to 37% of all online shoppers that made additional purchases when retrieving their orders, according to “The Rise of the Click and Collect Superconsumer,” a study from OrderDynamics.
According to the data, superconsumers spend, on average, $40 more on unplanned purchases when making a click-and-collect pickup. These customers also shop on every channel and claim to have shopped, on average, 45 times a year. Of that shopping activity, 23% are BOPIS orders.
Occasional consumers, those who used BOPIS once in the last year, are also shopping for additional items during their pickup visits, with 38.4% buying unplanned items. They spend, on average, $37 on these unplanned purchases.
When it comes to picking up their orders, 78% of superconsumers want to pick up their BOPIS orders within 24 hours. However, occasional consumers 53% want their click-and-collect orders ready in two hours or less, the study said.
The return process is also very important to superconsumers and occasional consumers, alike. A majority of these customers (70% and 58%, respectively) prefer to return items in store. However, occasional consumers tend to return items more frequently, on average 39 times a year. Superconsumers make returns only 19 times per year, on average.
“The term ‘consumer’ has been used in the broadest sense to include a more general demographic of retail shoppers,” said Nick McLean, CEO, OrderDynamics. “But with significant investments being made to improve omnichannel operations, it is important to understand the preferences and needs of consumers most likely to use offerings like click and collect. Through this research, retailers can grow their business and remain competitive by understanding exactly who the ‘superconsumer’ is.”
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Is Amazon prepping to break into finance?
Amazon could be well-positioned to dip its toe in the wealth management waters.
The online giant’s broad customer base and online platform would give it an edge among big tech companies in asset management, most likely as “an arms-length distributor of funds” rather than as a “super-active manager,” according to CNN Money, which cited a report from analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.
Between a massive customer base including 100 million Prime subscribers, vast amounts of customer data, and “Amazon’s superior reputation,” the online retailer “is well placed to disrupt the industry,” according to the analyst report.
The analyst firm envisions Amazon selling its customers “cheap funds” via a super-powered robo-adviser, CNN Money reported.
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