Walmart Adds ‘Pop-Up’ Centers for Online Holiday Sales
- by Lilian Diep
BENTONVILLE, AR - Retailers are kicking holiday preparations into high gear. With the month of November nearing its halfway mark, retail powerhouse Walmart is rolling out a new format to stay ahead of e-commerce demands. The retailer is placing 42 “pop-up” e-commerce fulfillment centers inside dozens of its regional distribution facilities (DC) as it braces for an expected rush of online sales during the holiday season.
“It is a seamless merge of stores and e-commerce, so our buildings can do either one,” said Srini Venkatesan, Executive Vice President at Walmart Global Technology, according to a statement obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
In an update penned by Greg Smith, EVP of Supply Chain, Walmart U.S., the 42 sites will hold fast-moving items in sections of warehouses that are traditionally used to ship pallets of goods to Walmart stores.
“As we began our planning, we knew we needed to get creative to meet our customers’ expectations and continue to help them ring in the holidays in a safe way,” Smith wrote. “Walmart already has an extensive supply chain network of distribution centers servicing our stores. By leveraging new and existing technology, and using some of our current real estate differently, we are increasing our e-commerce fulfillment capabilities as we prepare for the holidays.”
WSJ continued by stating the network of pop-up sites will ship up to 30 percent of Walmart’s online holiday volume, adding to the fulfillment capacity at its stores and dedicated e-commerce campuses that typically contain two or more fulfillment centers. Walmart can use its trucks to move online orders from the pop-up sites to stores before handing them off for last-mile delivery.
“Standing up the e-DCs enables us to move more product to customers quickly, using the expertise of our supply chain and technology associates—without the delay of building new facilities,” explained Smith. “The flexibility to pop-up an e-DC anytime our supply chain network experiences peak demand allows us to deliver for our customers when they need us the most all the while consistently following the health and safety measures we have had in place for months.”
To help with the holiday rush, Walmart is planning to hire more than 20,000 seasonal workers at e-commerce facilities. Those numbers include workers at the pop-up sites, which will also use existing regional distribution center staff, Senior Director of Public Relations at Walmart Global eCommerce Ravi Jariwala told WSJ.
Will these pop-up centers be the push Walmart needs to stay ahead of the game? ANUK will report the latest on the retail front.