Walmart plans to leverage its existing chain of supercenters in its battle against competitor Amazon, according to a new report. Rather than trying to compete with Amazon in its domain (e-commerce), Walmart will reportedly use its existing stores to provide customers with rapid deliveries and access to goods, as well as experiences they can’t order online. Among other things, the company reportedly wants to turn its stores into ‘edge computing’ centers, transform warehouses into processing and shipping centers for third-party products, and more.
According to sources speaking with Bloomberg, Walmart executives recently detailed the company’s plans to take on Amazon at a strategy meeting. The sources claim that Walmart is planning to transform its stores into a sort of web of hubs that’ll offer everything from very rapid grocery and product deliveries to ‘edge computing’ for our increasingly connected systems.
A Walmart supercenter could, the report claims, essentially function as a large hub for local regions, offering customers social experiences in addition to goods. Perhaps the best example of that is Walmart’s tendency to offer hair salons and eyeglass centers in its superstores — two things you can’t get through Amazon.
By adding ‘edge computing’ to its supercenters, Walmart would be able to rent out data processing power more local to customers than traditional cloud service providers. As well, Walmart is reportedly also considering the expansion of its stores’ warehouse and shipping capacities, which would be sold to third-party sellers offering their products through Walmart’s website.
Sources claim that Walmart is eyeing certain services as ways to lure in new customers, including offering them fast delivery of products from local stores, expanded grocery pickup and delivery, as well as in-store health clinics and other services. The majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, giving that store unique access to customers in a way Amazon doesn’t have.
The report also claims that Walmart has been in talks with major telecom companies regarding a plan to potentially allow them to install their 5G antennas on Walmart store roofs. These efforts would join Walmart’s relatively recent expansion of its grocery pickup service, which enables customers to order goods using the company’s website or mobile app, then pick them up ready to go in the nearest Walmart parking lot.