The lines between online and in-store shopping are getting a whole lot blurrier and the whole experience is more streamlined for shoppers: Walmart has launched "Pick Up Today."
Pick Up Today is different from "Site to Store," which lets you order select items online and have them shipped to the nearest location. This new service offers same-day pick up of online purchases, for free. Walmart began testing the program at 750 stores in 20 markets late last year and will roll it out nationally to all locations by the end of March.
It's an ambitious program and Walmart is not alone in offering it. Other retailers offer same day pickup, including Best Buy and Sears -- both with shorter pick-up windows -- but Walmart is certainly the largest to do so. Still, the program is limited and doesn't include grocery, apparel or health and beauty items. Without these staples, Walmart isn't doing much more than making its Site to Store program more robust.
Sears and Kmart, through its mygofer service, include such household staples and offers curbside pick up. According to Imran Jooma, senior vice president of E-commerce at Sears, customers can order anything in the store, expect it to be ready within five minutes or you get a $5 coupon toward a future purchase. Just send the store a text message when you've arrived and an employee brings out the order and puts it in the trunk.
"You never have to get out of the car, or take the kids out of the back seat," says Jooma.
Sears currently offers the service at roughly 90% of its full-line stores and sister company Kmart has it at 600 locations powered by mygofer, an online service it began testing in 2009 and expanded in August 2010. Kmart is also testing home delivery in addition to curbside pickup in select locations in Chicago -- a typical test market for parent company Sears Holdings -- and will consolidate purchases from Sears and Kmart.
We are truly becoming a multichannel society.