A Walmart pickup grocery location in Bentonville, Ark. The retailer has announced that it would expand its offerings by asking employees to deliver online orders on their way home from work. (Danny Johnston/AP)

A Walmart pickup grocery location in Bentonville, Ark. The retailer has announced that it would expand its offerings by asking employees to deliver online orders on their way home from work. (Danny Johnston/AP)

Walmart’s newest tactic in its fight against online giant Amazon: enlisting its employees to deliver online orders on their way home from work.

The idea, Walmart executives said Thursday, is to cut costs on the so-called last-mile of deliveries, when packages are driven to customers’ homes, often the most expensive part of the fulfillment process.

“It just makes sense: We already have trucks moving orders from fulfillment centers to stores for pickup,” Marc Lore, chief executive of Walmart’s e-commerce business and the founder of Jet.com, said in a blog post Thursday afternoon. “Those same trucks could be used to bring ship-to-home orders to a store close to their final destination, where a participating associate can sign up to deliver them to the customer’s house.”

The company began testing the package-delivery program a month ago in three stores — two in New Jersey, one in northwest Arkansas — but did not offer details on when, or where, it would expand across the United States.

Employees will be paid extra for the voluntary program, and offered overtime pay as necessary to make the deliveries, Walmart spokesman Ravi Jariwala said Thursday.

“Walmart is uniquely qualified, uniquely positioned, to be able to offer this,” he said, adding that 90 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store. “There is really strong overlap between where our associates are already heading after work and where those packages need to go.”

The company is billing the program as a way for employees to earn extra money, although there were few details on how they would be paid. Jariwala declined to clarify whether employees would be paid based on distance, time, number of deliveries or a combination of those things.

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SOURCE: Abha Bhattarai 
The Washington Post