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11/21/2023

Walmart speeds up deliveries from stores

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart parcel stations
Walmart is placing parcel stations to speed up deliveries from stores.

Walmart is implementing “parcel stations” to help move packages through stores to their final destinations.

The discount chain, which has already been leveraging its enhanced supply chain capabilities to provide a better customer experience this holiday season, has more than 4,000 of its 4,700 U.S. stores operating as delivery hubs that fulfill and deliver a variety of different order types.

Walmart will also have seven automated market fulfillment centers up and running by Thanksgiving. The centers, which are located within Walmart stores, stock thousands of the most sought-after items. 

To further strengthen its omnichannel fulfillment capabilities, Walmart is now adding a feature it calls parcel stations to select in-store fulfillment hubs. Parcel stations, which Walmart says operate like a “mini post office that receives and delivers packages,” are designed to move goods faster to a customer’s home by using its private fleet to transport more online orders. 

Packages originate in Walmart’s fulfillment centers and move to a sortation center or directly to stores, where they are then delivered to a customer’s home using the retailer’s last-mile delivery network. Walmart also said it will use parcel stations to help speed deliveries it performs for other retailers via its white-label GoLocal “delivery-as-a-service” platform.

“Transporting more online orders through parcel stations benefits customers, associates and our business,” Jennifer McKeehan, senior VP, transportation and delivery, Walmart U.S., said in a corporate blog post. “For customers, parcel stations give them more time to place online orders on a greater assortment of merchandise for next day delivery. For associates, we’re making it easier and more efficient to distribute online orders from stores. Collectively, the entire process builds density to lower the cost of delivery, which we can reinvest back into the customer experience.”

Walmart plans to have more than 40 parcel stations in stores by the end of the year, with many operating now in time for the holiday shopping season. The retailer intends to expand this capability to other locations in 2024. 

Walmart focuses on fast delivery

Walmart has been actively expanding its fast delivery capability, and currently can reach nearly 90% of the U.S. population with next- or two-day shipping, including marketplace items shipped by Walmart Fulfillment Services. The retailer also recently began offering its Express Delivery service until 10 p.m. on orders placed by 9:30 p.m. at 4,000 stores across the U.S. 

These efforts are enhanced by Walmart’s three new next-generation fulfillment centers (Joliet, Ill.; McCordsville, Ind.; and Lancaster, Tex.), which are now running. Additionally, Walmart continues to rapidly expand the use of next-generation technology in its distribution centers. 

This year, over 15% of Walmart stores will receive merchandise from automated distribution centers, helping to get items off trucks and onto the sales floor faster and more efficiently. And 

Headquartered in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart Inc. operates more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites in 19 countries.