Click on your favorite groceries now and pick them up on your way home. While the convenience is hard to beat, food retailers have struggled to integrate online sales and pickup services with their brick-and-mortar operations. But now, Walmart says it’s prepared to step up its game.
Today Reuters reported that Walmart will expand its free curbside grocery pickup service by a robust 33 percent. The service will reach out to eight new towns for a total of 200 participating stores in 30 cities, according to an interview with Michael Bender, Chief Operating Officer of Walmart's e-commerce operations.
The announcement comes just six months after Walmart’s October rollout of 150 participating stores in 22 cities. Walmart’s customer satisfaction scores for the new program were consistently in the mid-to-high 90s. "The data we’ve collected gives us confidence that with existing customers we are getting a larger share of their wallet and that's complemented by new customers we are bringing into the fold," Bender said.
Bender shared that Walmart was preparing to grow beyond this move, indicating that the retailer might scale the service to a more sizeable portion of its nearly 4,600 stores across the United States.
Consumers who still long for the classic customer service experience needn’t worry. Walmart has added a new position to the company – Personal Shoppers – focused specifically on learning the unique tastes and preferences of their customers.
The push in online grocery coincides with a two year, $2.7 billion investment to boost worker wages and training, steps that Wal-Mart hopes will improve its customer service and translate into higher sales.