Walmart, the world's largest retailer, is taking a page from the largest online retailer Amazon, as it has announced that this summer, it will be testing in-store lockers to house purchases made from Walmart's online store. The lockers would hold physical items that customers purchase until they are picked up by the customer at their convenience, according to a report by Reuters. Walmart also plans to expand its program of shipping online orders direct from stores to about 50 locations this year.
Amazon launched its initial locker program in 2011, and it has since expanded it to Staples and RadioShack locations in addition to convenience stores in a handful of cities in the US and UK. Walmart, which currently has 4,000 locations in the US, did not say how many of its stores would be part of its locker trial. It's also not exactly clear why a retail store with employees needs a locker to house orders when the store already has stock rooms and other areas for holding merchandise until it is picked up. Walmart is trying to compete with Amazon online by expanding the number and assortment of items that it sells through its web store, and it could use these lockers to hold things that aren't typically sold in stores.
Whether or not that will be enough to entice customers to purchase items for pick up at their local Walmart stores instead of taking advantage of Amazon's inexpensive two-day shipping remains to be seen, but we're sure that Walmart hopes that will happen.