Axios has a piece about how "Walmart's on the cusp of weakening Amazon's edge in online shopping and shipping," as it "transforms its stores into a powerful logistics network."
The story points to Walmart's first-ever "market fulfillment center" in Bentonville, Arkansas, as being key to the network, with a "compact in-store warehousing platform involves an 'Alphabot' that moves along stacked shelves of inventory to store or retrieve products."
Axios writes that "more customers are choosing Walmart delivery and in-store pickup, and that demand fuels its e-commerce growth. To keep scaling efficiently, Walmart wants to increase the number of online orders it can fill and the speed at which it can do it."
The story goes on:
"On the delivery side, Walmart over the past five years has been building a fleet of independent drivers through its Spark Driver program. That resembles Amazon's 5-year-old Delivery Service Partner program, and offers gig-work opportunities similar to Uber Eats or Instacart.
"Walmart hasn't disclosed how many drivers it currently has. Amazon, meanwhile, boasts about 275,000.
"For fast delivery on some of its smallest orders, Walmart has also been working to expand its drone delivery program, which recently crossed 10,000 completed orders over the past year. In comparison, Amazon has made 100 deliveries by drone since launching a few months ago."
- KC's View:
Let me refer you to this morning's Innovation Conversation, in which Tom Furphy and I try to put this story in context.