Wal-Mart Fights Amazon With Free Pickup at Stores

40% of online shoppers avoid shipping costs
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2009 9:56 AM CST
Wal-Mart Fights Amazon With Free Pickup at Stores
In this Monday, Feb. 16, 2009 file photo Wal-Mart employee Sean Blais moves shopping carts in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart store in Weymouth, Mass.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Wal-Mart’s finally putting a dent in Amazon’s e-tailing dominance, thanks, ironically, to its ubiquitous brick-and-mortar outlets. Wal-Mart now allows online shoppers to pick up their goods at the physical store of their choice, avoiding paying shipping. It’s an old concept, but Wal-Mart’s got the stores to take it to another level. In some stores it’s installed special pick-up desks, and even drive-through windows.

“There was a time when the online and offline businesses were viewed as being different,” says Walmart.com’s chief executive. “Now we are realizing that we actually have a physical advantage thanks to our thousands of stores, and we can use it to become No. 1 online.” Don't hold your breath—Wal-Mart’s $1.7 billion annual online sales pale in comparison to Amazon’s $19.17 billion. But the program does seem to be a hit—the company says 40% of online orders are now picked up in-store. (Read more Walmart stories.)

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