D Is For Delivery

25 04 2011

Although I always say that no one is immune to market threats, I must have given Walmart a kitchen pass, for I honestly felt that no one could ever put a dent in their empire. After all, they are so far ahead of everyone else that, with over $400 billion annual sales, each US citizen accounts for roughly $1300.

That’s a lot of dough.

But others are starting to eat Walmart’s lunch. The sour economy caused many lower-income shoppers to switch to Aldi, the German-owned bare-bones chain my old high school girlfriend’s family referred to as “The Poor Store.” Add in Dollar General Markets (the recent concept added by the popular discounter), and you have outlets seriously undercutting Walmart on the basics it once prided itself in providing cheaply.

But that’s not all. E-commerce kingpin Amazon is also stealing shoppers away with groceries shipped along with your books, movies and shoes. Amazon Prime members who pay $79 per year get unlimited shipping on groceries as well as non-food items, so as long as it’s not perishable or needed right now, Amazon provides yet another inexpensive alternative.

The sleeping giant has apparently, awakened, however, because it is now test marketing home delivery of groceries in San Jose CA. Non-perishables and selected non-food items are included in the test. Purchases can be delivered at the customer’s desired time.

Wow. Customer service. At Walmart. Times must be tough, eh?

I love it. Not that I want to see Walmart fail, of course, but the free market still works. And competition is the best motivator on the planet. Walmart apparently had started to rest on its laurels, eliminating hundreds of products, and slowly losing sight of its low price mission. They have now been forced to reconsider many things, including a return to its core pricing strategy and the return of many of those deleted items. yes, the ite3ms it turns out many customers actually wanted.

But home delivery almost screams desperation. The David trio of Amazon, Aldi and Dollar General must have landed a few well-aimed sucker punches, and the mighty Goliath has had the wind knocked out of its lungs.

To be honest, it wouldn’s break my heart if I never had to set foot in another Walmart anyway. Sure, I know that I have plenty of options, but WM does offer 24-hour convenience at most locations. It’s just the dirty, crowded stores I loathe, not to mention the folks I see on PeopleOfWalmart.com. For the record, there is no PeopleOfTarget, which speaks volumes about the demographics of both stores’s shoppers. A delivery truck would be a welcome reprieve from the onerous task of navigating the human and non-human obstacles of Wally World.

Just be sure to come after dark.

Dr “The UPS Man Always Rings Twice” Gerlich

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