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Does Wal-Mart's Pick Up Today raise the bar?

Wal-Mart is rolling out its new service for online shoppers across the country. But is it better than what competitors offer?

By MSN Money Partner Mar 24, 2011 11:56AM

This guest post comes from Ashley Watson at dealnews.com.

 

Wal-Mart is beginning a national rollout of its new Pick Up Today service, which allows customers to order items online and pick them up about four hours later for no additional fees.

 

Wal-Mart intends to expand Pick Up Today's inventory to include up to 40,000 items in various categories, from home décor to video games, all of which will be available for same-day pickup in 3,600 stores by June.

 

The goal is to combine Wal-Mart's large bricks-and-mortar footprint with the consumer demand for free shipping, which it hopes will top competitors like Amazon, which does not have the advantage of retail store locations, and Best Buy, which doesn't offer the same wide array of products.

Steve Nave, senior vice president and general manager of Walmart.com, says, "Wal-Mart is uniquely positioned to combine the power of e-commerce with our national retail footprint to offer a leading, multichannel experience that delivers the best savings and convenience to our customers." And he adds that, according to a Consumer Intentions & Actions Survey from BIGresearch, "63% of Wal-Mart shoppers said that free shipping is very important to them."

 

In contrast, Amazon.com already offers free shipping and an additional 15% discount on bulk grocery items through its Subscribe and Save program, and the items are delivered right to the customer's door. Even if customers are looking for items not eligible for Subscribe and Save, other departments within the site offer free shipping with minimum purchase. Amazon is also experimenting with its AmazonTote program, which will do same-day delivery in certain markets.

Other stores also compete. Best Buy even has a shorter turnaround time than four hours, with most items available for pickup in as little as 45 minutes after the online purchase, and select stores offer a reserved front-row parking spot for customers picking up orders.

 

Sears customers can make their store pickups even more convenient by using an in-store kiosk or curbside pickup. If the item isn't ready within five minutes after the customer presents a confirmation number, Sears will give away a $5 coupon.

 

So how will Wal-Mart stand out? For city dwellers who may not live anywhere near a Wal-Mart store, the Pick Up Today service gives the option of picking up orders at a nearby FedEx location. Wal-Mart also appeals to the mobile crowd with its iPhone app that allows customers to renew Wal-Mart Pharmacy prescriptions or order photo prints for pickup through their mobile Web browser.

 

Pick Up Today is not the same as Wal-Mart's Site to Store program, which has been in operation for five years. Site to Store offers free shipping only on eligible items that are available to be picked up at the store in four to seven days, as opposed to Pick Up Today's same-day delivery and larger inventory.

 

More from dealnews.com and MSN Money:

161Comments
Mar 24, 2011 8:51PM
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Walmart won't bring back layaway because its a huge loss for them with cancellations, no shows, and no a fee program. I think they stopped layaway to start their own secured credit card program. With that program, they already have the money * gaining them interest* if the customer fails to pay they already have that covered by the deposit. They cut employees hours on average 10,000 hours a store (as of march2011) and in stores with 300 employees that's a WEEK out of every employees paycheck..When they live paycheck to paycheck..while not a single dollar is cut out of any assitant manager, store and co manager, zone manager supervisor, or whatever other foolish title they give their managers...and yet they expect their employees to do the work of three people for the pay of one..no wonder the average employee/customer can't afford not to shop at walmart...because we are on the brink of poverty.
Mar 25, 2011 1:51AM
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I'm currently employed @ "China-Mart". After 3+ years, things continue to spiral downward. Lack of employees throughout the store is a corporate decision. Less payroll = more bloated paychecks for upper management & higher profits for shareholders. Customers & associates be damned. It all boils down to corporate greed. And there is no escape. My local management team keeps trying to pacify us with "We don't have enough profit to justify new employees". They try to sound concerned, when they say they feel our pain & concerns. But they continue to listen to the bean-counters & number-crunchers to try to justify their logic. Truth be told, they don't want to stand up, plant their feet, grow a spine (...or balls) and make a difference. As long as they take home their over-glorified paycheck every two weeks, they stand for nothing but themselves. This new "Pick Up Today" runs just as smoothly as "Site To Store".  THERE IS NEVER AN ASSOCIATE THERE TO HELP THE WAITING CUSTOMER !  I've been continuing my search for a better job for about a year now, so that I can leave this Purgatory. I'd like to be proud once again to work for a company that actually cares. When someone asks where I currently work....I'd rather say that I'm a Meth dealer, than to tell them the truth.
Mar 26, 2011 9:50AM
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I have worked for WalMart for 4 years now. I agree with alot of people on here about the prices and all but It is a job. I dont like working for corporate america either but it helps pay my bils. I am a customer service manager and I agree that the cashiers and csm's may not be the happiest people BUT it is bc we deal with rude people all day long fussing about all the problems that they find through out the store like it is our fault. We have no control over ordering or keeping the product stocked. I work on 3rd shift and yes there maybe only 4 registers opened but once again we dont have control over the scheduling of the cashiers or to hire anymore. If you have so many complaints then call 1-800-wal-mart. I dont know that it would actually help matters but at least you would be complaining to someone that could actually help the situation. As far as the store or parking lot looking like crap. Take a look at yourselves. It is the customers that are making the messes not the employees. We are continuously trying to clean up all of the crap. I am sure that most people don't leave their homes looking all trashed like the customers leave the store and parking lot  trashed. To have something better you have to start with yourselves. You actually have to treat people like you want to be treated and leave the store like you would your own home.
Mar 24, 2011 8:00PM
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How about Wal(China)Mart rolling out a blast from the part. Offering more American made products instead of the current inventory of Communist made Chinese junk.

The government I fear not. The fear is from Wall street and corporate America which is driving this country into the ground in the want of avarice, greed,  power, and unbridled profits.

How can a company like Wal(China)Wart place  the welfare of the Chinese over the welfare of the working class in this country?

Not only did they screw the American worker when his job was outsourced, they are now screwing the Communist Chinese worker with substanderd pay.

Wake up people, Wall street is destroying this country.

Thank you big oil for the screwing you are dishing out to America.

Mar 24, 2011 8:57PM
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Ken Ken has got it right, Walmart offers cheap products because you get what you pay for, and in this case is lousy quality junk, and the fact that they want to make it easier to buy it is scary, because it will only hurt us more and help others. I know we are pirivlaged here in the US, and many consider it a good thing that we are outsourcing jobs to other countries like China or Mexico, but what happens when we become (dare I say it) a third world country that can't afford to open factories of our own without aid from other countries. We need more things made in the US, and if that means paying more, then we should. Also, our obsesive hunt for the cheapest price isn't the best for anyone. Go to mom and pop stores, pay more, and if everyone does this, we all win. We don't need Walmart. Thanks for reading my rant.
Mar 24, 2011 10:01PM
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 I've read most of the recent comments here & just want to ad to them. In regards to statements made about the filthy parking lots, well, it wasn't Walmart employees who did this. It is the SHOPPERS who park there, dump their ash trays, plastic water bottles, fast food wrappers & bags, pop cans, and oh yea...the soiled diapers too!! Some people are pigs, have no respect for others that use the parking lot. Now, inside the store...same thing...the shoppers & sometimes their kids dropping tissues, etc.. Looking @ merchandise & then leaving it in other areas. Oh...and when people empty their merchandise to the car, well...just leave the cart in a parking spot next to them or better yet, between two cars.

  As far as "rude cashiers," I've shopped many Walmarts throughout Indiana & have never came across one yet. Maybe that cashier was "rude" to some of the posters here because they were "rude" to them. Maybe??

Mar 24, 2011 8:34PM
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i wish walmart would have layaways again that would help alot of people and walmart also
Mar 24, 2011 7:58PM
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As a retired veteran I appreciate all that makes my life easier.
Mar 26, 2011 12:39PM
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If you don't like WalMart, stay out of their stores.  I get the feeling that most of you have used this write up just to express your whiny complaints that for the most part, apply to most retail stores across America.  I have shopped WalMart for years and whenever I have returned an item, for whatever reason, they processed the return and gave me my money back or credited my card.  End of transaction.  Site to Store pick up is one of the best things they thought of also.  I have used it numerous times and if I have to walk to the back of the store to get my item, well, so be it.  I am slim and trim and can always use the exercise.  In recent months, I find more and more employees available to assist me if needed.  One day when I needed a heavy container of cat litter off a higher shelf, no one there, or were busy with other customers.  I got to the checkout registers, and the cashier called for someone to go get my item and bring it to the front.  Perfect!    She rang it up so as not to keep the other customers waiting, and I waited up front.  Does this always happen in such accordance?  No.  But not anywhere else either.  If you want a clean WalMart store, don't leave your trash there.  Want convenience of not having to get out of your car to shop?  Stay home and order online and have it delivered to your door.  Want pleasant helpful people to assist you?  Treat them with the same respect you think you deserve.  They are there to assist you not serve you like some slave you bought for the amount of the products you purchased.  Do I work for Walmart?  Nope.  I have a feeling it is those who had 'a bad experience' in WalMart who proceed to  'I'll show them" by cleaning out your car in the parking lot or throw the baby's dirty diaper in the road  that the rest of us have to use.   That only showed me what type of person you really are.  If you don't respect the world you live in, there is no pleasing you in any way.  Move on.
Mar 24, 2011 9:53PM
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Oh, you Wal-Mart bashers are hilarious.  Fine - go to Target instead.  You are only hurting yourselves.  You'll wind up paying more in the end on most of the products you buy.  Sure, you can quote half a dozen items that MAY be a few cents cheaper at Target than Wal-Mart, but overall you'll pay more at Target and the selection???  Laughable.  Target comes up short, any way you cut it.  Are you finding more American made products there than at Wal-Mart?  I don't think so.


And to the person who suggested the American public boycott Wal-Mart until they can prove that 75%+ of their items are American made....why not require that of other retailers as well?  Target, Best Buy, Kmart, Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, Pennys...to name a few.  Good luck with that.  You will really be able to save a LOT of money with this requirement because there won't be many products available for you to buy.  


Ladies and gentlemen, Ross Perot said it - that giant sucking sound you hear is your American jobs leaving this country - NAFTA......and we thought he was nuts.      

Mar 24, 2011 9:20PM
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If walmarts customer service is so poor and they don't have low prices why do people continue to shop there? Please if its such an awful place stop going there the cashiers will be happy to not have to deal with you.
Mar 24, 2011 10:06PM
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The cashiers at Walmart are rude because they have to put up with stupid crap from customers the entire day. People purposely remove tags and price stickers (to cheat their way to a cheaper price), act rudely, and in general have an air of superiority. In general, I feel that there is a stigma (towards cashiers, particularly at Walmart) that they are less intelligent/ poorly educated. This isn't always the case, and I particularly find it offensive when I see someone mistreating a clerk.  

I also think that Walmart is more disorderly than other stores because the people shopping there show less of a disregard than they do at other stores. 
Mar 24, 2011 8:09PM
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How about if people just stop shopping at Wal-Mart until they can prove to the American public that 75% + of their items offered are American made?  Their price differences are nothing as compared to the raping of America.  Hope it's worth the few cents difference to those that shop there. 
Mar 24, 2011 7:50PM
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Lowes Home Center has offered Ready to go orders for years both by phone and by internet ready in two hours.
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  What happened to the so called "Mom and Pop" stores ? Here is a theory. Over couple of decades ago, Mom and Pop thought they had a monopoly on the local economy. Then a "Pop" named Sam Walton thought, "You know, if I work it right, I can become very wealthy." So Sam got right to work. He expanded his floorspace so he could carry a wider variety of products which allowed  him to lower prices so he could under-sell his competitors and he had great advertising. He even pushed American products in his stores with his "Made IN USA" campaign. It worked ! Until one day, Sam died. His family then took over(Sam's stores) and lost sight of Sam's American dream of free enterprise in the USA ! They thought they could make even more(!) money by buying products made by the cheapest labor.

  Now, here we are. Our American homes are full of items that are, "Made in China", products that sometimes had to be recalled because they were not made to American standards. Walmart Corp. will fail if they keep going the way they are doing to our economy, Americans are getting tired of it.

 

Mar 24, 2011 9:07PM
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Walter has sucked, still sucks and will always suck. Inferior products, utilizing literally slave labor negotiated by Walmart buyers strong arm tactics have driven thousands of companies out of business or forced them to go overseas to be able to sell the products at the price DICTATED by Walmart. Add this to dirty stores, unkempt parking lots and rude cashiers and customer service folks and I wonder how they are even still in business. It is only because they come to town, destroy the local retailers and then the population has nowhere else to buy from. It is proven that after the initial 2-3 years building phase and hiring that 3 local jobs are lost for EVERY JOB filled at a Walmart. So if  a Walmart opens and hires 120 people total then 3 years later 360 local jobs will have been lost. Then the Walmart raises their prices and have no competition. The electronics they sell are not on the same level as say an Office Depot or the like. They are not made to use for several years.........they are to use and throw away.

 

Walmart is a JOKE!   I go maybe once a year only to buy something I have to have that I absolutely CANNOT FIND anywhere else.

Mar 26, 2011 8:32AM
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I am curious why Walmart is doing this. Best Buy has it nailed down pat already-I can shop at home for exactly what I want and I get a special parking spot and they will even accompany you with your purchase to your car. I rarely shop Walmart anymore, I am a 30 yr old male-for demographics sake. They bullied their way into Austin Minnesota and they are one of the stores that I know is failing-the community didn't want em there at all. I always find what I need at Target and never wait an hour to get checked out. That "site to store" thing is ridiculous-you have to go all the way to the back of the store and wait forever.

Walmart cut their own throat when they discontinued layaway. I do most of my x-mas shopping online now thanks to Walmart. They used to be the store to go to, but poor Sam must be rolling in his grave knowing what they have become-no longer an American experience but a chinese nightmare run wild.

Mar 24, 2011 10:24PM
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So sick of the Walmart bashing! People say everyday "I'm not shopping there anymore!" Guess who's in Walmart very next day.....the same person saying this the day before! Come on people! You can also make a difference in not being so darn rude and filthy! There are people that bust their butts everyday to try and pick up your crap that you leave all over the store and all over the parking lot! You want a clean store and a clean parking lot than you start telling people you see doing it to stop! The employees can't! Boy would they like to! You want better customer service start crabbing to your local walmart store manager! Sorry but crabbing on here is not getting you anywhere! You think a CEO of Walmart is reading this UMMMM NO! They are too busy flying jets to go on vacations with the bonuses they take from their employees!
Mar 25, 2011 12:04AM
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I'm a senior, over 55, disabled, and applied at walmart for a greeters job. I got it, They knew my disability, and couldn't stand for long periods. After getting a Drs. note telling that I couldn't stand in one spot for hours, they told me tough, store policy changed. They made my life a living hell for almost 2 years. harassment galore. I told superiors, and even went to the "wire".  That man told me why am I rocking his boat? If I was of colored persuasion, it would matter. But, being white, and the new minority, he said too bad. Finally I did what they wanted. I quit. The stress was just too much for minimum wage, no benefits, and a 40+ mile drive each way. I have seen the waste at walmart. The deli overcooks, and what ever is left is thrown out, as per home office they said. It could have gone to feed the needy. All bakery reduced 1 day, thrown the next, could have gone to food pantry. Label missing cans, they were marked, tossed, and so on. Over shipped items, they throw in dumpsters, cuz it wasn't on invoice. I  mainly shop elsewhere, as I can find better quality food, cheaper. Walmart will raise prices, then discount them to a higher than original, but cheaper that the last price. What a rip!!!!!
Mar 26, 2011 6:21AM
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I dont know how they can be ready for this new program, when the site to store is so poorly run. I have been waiting for ten days now for an item, that two days ago showed it had been shipped from delivery facility to the store...and it was from a town three hours away?? Two days later, still not here yet...it was three hours away two days ago?? Sad thing is my daughter who lives in the town I shipped to, can walk through that Walmart....and they have that item there in stock! But Nooooo, you must wait for the one shipping here....ten days ago...must wait longer...cant have this one....LOL. I know I will never again use the site to store service, I will just mail her the money and she can drive over and purchase, that might take two days, way faster than this program Walmart now has., or purchase from a different online retailer and ship direct to her...must wait longer...cant have this one...LMAO, Walmart has there heads somewhere else ...
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