RETAIL NEWS

Walmart expands FedEx partnership

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A discount giant is expanding its partnership with FedEx — a move that could help the company improve the “last mile” of its deliveries.

Walmart is adding FedEx Office shops into 500 locations over the next 24 months. The stores will feature for printing, packing and shipping services.

The program stems from a pilot program the partners launched in 47 Walmart stores across six states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, Texas and Colorado. The service enables customers to access to packing, shipping and printing solutions, as well as hold delivered packages at any Walmart-based FedEx Office location for up to five business days — a factor that the company expects to improve the last mile of delivery for its shoppers. (Walmart already partners with FedEx for traditional shipping services.)

The stores will also act as a drop-off point for customer returns, and can process refunds “on the spot.” It will also enable FedEx to ship products back to distributors in bulk, according to CNBC.

The shops will range from 450 sq. ft. and 750 sq. ft., and will be staffed by roughly a total of 2,000 FedEx employees, CNBC reported.

“Our busy customers view our stores as a one-stop-shop for all the products and services they are looking for,” said Daniel Eckert, senior VP, Walmart services and digital acceleration. “We know shipping and printing is one such service they want to access in our stores, so we’re thrilled to expand our relationship with FedEx so that even more of our busy customers can take advantage of their pick up, drop off and printing services.”

Enabling customers to hold their packages at the FedEx shop not only improves the last mile of delivery for Walmart, it will also help quell their concerns around becoming a victim of “porch piracy,” or having their online deliveries stolen from their porch.

The option rivals other efforts from competitors to make it easier for customers to receive their online orders. For example, Amazon recently added its pickup lockers inside of stores across its newly acquired Whole Foods Market stores. Meanwhile, Target recently acquired on-demand delivery company Shipt, to bolster its online delivery options.

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Kroger addresses shifting competitive landscape

BY Michael Johnsen

Across the supermarket competitive landscape, pharmacy remains a key component of Kroger’s overall offering and the company plans to strengthen that offering looking forward, Mike Schlotman, Kroger executive vice president and CFO, told investors at last week’s Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2018 Consumer & Retail Technology Conference.

“[Kroger’s] script count, ID script count and total script count, continues to grow nicely,” Schlotman said. “It’s a very important part of our business [and] our team has done a great job. There are some things they’re working on to make the business even better. That’s actually some of the work that’s [been] submitted as part of the Restock Kroger Plan.”

Schlotman noted that the combination of Albertsons and Rite Aid may make for a sharper competitor overall, though Kroger is up to the challenge. “They’re good operators. Bob [Miller] has a great track record; John [Standley] has a great track record,” he said, noting both were at the helm of Fred Meyer when that operation was bought by Kroger. “We like our market position today relative to a lot of competitors.”

While not in the pharmacy business, one new competitor to the supermarket competitive landscape that Schlotman is keeping an eye on is Lidl, despite that grocer’s slow start in the U.S. “We spent a lot of time before Lidl came to the United States, going to almost every European country where they operated, actually sitting down with the management teams of the traditional supermarket operators in those markets to understand what worked, what didn’t work and what they would have done differently,” he said. “A lot of those strategies is what we’ve deployed when [Lidl] started opening their first stores in the mid-Atlantic region.”

Kroger earlier this month reported a total annual sales net increase of 6.4% to $122.7 billion in 2017 compared to $115.3 billion in 2016. Kroger is targeting identical supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, to range from 1.5% to 2% in 2018. http://migratedev.drugstorenews.com/retail-news/kroger-posts-annual-sales-gains-6-4-122-7-billion/

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Food Lion’s CIAA basketball sponsorship nets 24,000 meals

BY Michael Johnsen

For the past 24 years, Food Lion has served as the exclusive food and retail sponsor of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament as well as the title sponsor of the women’s tournament, which were both held ealier this month at the Spectrum Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

“We are always excited about our partnership with the CIAA because in addition to athletics this week-long event recognizes and celebrates education, wellness, community service and diversity and inclusion,” Benny Smith, manager of media and community relations, Food Lion, said. “We were honored to support CIAA students, fans and customers through scholarships and sponsored activities.”

The 2018 tournament also showcased Food Lion’s media savvy with a record-breaking 2.9 million social, broadcast and print media impressions, including a 200% increase in coverage of the #BallinOnHunger campaign. As part of the campaign, Food Lion restocked on-campus pantries of CIAA colleges and universities and – thanks to the success of #BallinOnHunger – will donate 24,000 meals to local food banks in the 12 communities surrounding CIAA schools.

Further, Food Lion, a division of Ahold Delhaize, has donated more than $4.5 million toward CIAA scholarships since 2003 and additionally employs many CIAA students and alumni through its Retail Management Trainee Program.

“Our work with the CIAA is an important part of our community outreach every year,” Smith said. “It’s a great relationship.”

 

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