The holidays drive demand for retailers nationwide and Walmart is using this expected sales bump to launch a new format. The retail behemoth is rolling out 42 “pop-up” e-commerce fulfillment centers inside dozens of its regional distribution facilities (DC).
“It is a seamless merge of stores and e-commerce, so our buildings can do either one,” said Srini Venkatesan, Executive Vice President at Walmart Global Technology, according to a statement obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
Greg Smith, EVP of Supply Chain, Walmart U.S., wrote in an update that the 42 sites will hold fast-moving items in sections of warehouses that are traditionally used to ship pallets of goods to Walmart stores.
“As we began our planning, we knew we needed to get creative to meet our customers’ expectations and continue to help them ring in the holidays in a safe way,” Smith wrote. “Walmart already has an extensive supply chain network of distribution centers servicing our stores. By leveraging new and existing technology, and using some of our current real estate differently, we are increasing our e-commerce fulfillment capabilities as we prepare for the holidays.”
The network of pop-up sites will ship up to 30 percent of Walmart’s online holiday volume, adding to the fulfillment capacity at its stores and dedicated e-commerce campuses that typically contain two or more fulfillment centers. WSJ continued noted that Walmart can use its trucks to move online orders from the pop-up sites to stores before handing them off for last-mile delivery.
“Standing up the e-DCs enables us to move more product to customers quickly, using the expertise of our supply chain and technology associates—without the delay of building new facilities,” explained Smith. “The flexibility to pop-up an e-DC anytime our supply chain network experiences peak demand allows us to deliver for our customers when they need us the most all the while consistently following the health and safety measures we have had in place for months.”
To help with the holiday rush, Walmart is planning to hire more than 20,000 seasonal workers at e-commerce facilities. Those numbers include workers at the pop-up sites, which will also use existing regional distribution center staff, Senior Director of Public Relations at Walmart Global eCommerce Ravi Jariwala told WSJ.
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