Walmart, king of big-box and the world’s largest retailer by revenue, is considering a new delivery plan that would have in-store customers deliver packages to online buyers, Reuters reports. In exchange, the customers making deliveries would receive a discount off their shopping bills.
The new delivery concept would be a radical application of the sharing economy mentality, which emphasizes a peer-to-peer exchange of goods and services, to corporate retail. The sharing economy has become prevalent across a diverse slate of industries such as hotels (Airbnb), car-sharing (RelayRides), and everyday tasks (TaskRabbit).
Although Walmart executives tell Reuters the idea is very nascent, the big-box-meets-sharing-economy idea could pull some weight against obvious competitor Amazon. Earlier this week, Walmart made a very pointed play at Amazon with the announcement of a new digital locker service that will allow customers who order online to have those items held at one of about a dozen Walmart stores until shoppers pick them up.
Walmart has also been testing Walmart To Go, a home delivery service with a small fleet of its own delivery trucks in several metro areas, since last October. Walmart To Go only delivers Walmart products, naturally, but it faces competition from other home-delivery tests from Amazon and eBay, whose eBay Now delivers in San Francisco, New York City, and San Jose. There’s also Google, which earlier today launched a same-day delivery service that promises speedy delivery from partner retailers, many of whom it shares with eBay Now, such as Target and Toys”R”Us.