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Wal-Mart Expands Free Store Pickup to Boost E-Commerce

'Online' is the buzz word now and retail giants are jumping the bandwagon to lure customers in different ways.

In this regard, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT reportedly expanded its free curbside pickup of groceries. The company will widen its footprint to eight cities including Kansas City and Austin this April. Including these new cities, Wal-Mart’s free grocery pick-up service — launched last September — will be available in 30 cities across the nation.

In cities where it already has stores, the retail giant will increase its store count offering the service by a third to about 200.

This is likely to give the company an edge especially with peers like Kohl’s Stores Inc. KSS, Amazon’s AMZN Prime Fresh service, Target’s TGT recent partnership with Instacart, and Alphabet’s Google Express delivery service.

Using Wal-Mart’s new service, customers can shop online and choose a convenient time to pick up the groceries at their local store. Store employees would help customers to load the groceries at the designated parking area.

Online grocery shopping and delivery is a booming industry, worth $10.9 billion, and is expected to grow 9.6% annually through 2019, according to a report by market research firm, IbisWorld. Wal-Mart currently carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) is thus aggressively investing in its e-Commerce business and making efforts to improve customer service.

According to Wal-Mart’s chief operating officer of e-Commerce operations, Michael Bender, the company plans to expand further and roll out the service to nearly 4,600 stores across the U.S. In addition to Kansas City, MO and Austin, TX, Wal-Mart plans to roll out the service later this month to select stores in Boise, ID; Richmond and Virginia Beach, VA; Provo, UT; Daphne, AL and Charleston, SC.

The company has improved both its technology and physical distribution network for e-Commerce. The technology platform Pangaea is consistently enhancing customer experience and conversion for Walmart.com and resulting in solid sales growth. A U.S. grocery home shopping business started by the company has been well accepted by customers. Wal-Mart has also developed the e-Commerce platform at Sam's Club and in key markets such as Brazil and China.

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AMAZON.COM INC (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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KOHLS CORP (KSS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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