Walmart to begin testing associate delivery "to leverage our unique assets"

BENTONVILLE, Arkansas -- Walmart announced on Thursday, June 1st that they will begin testing associate delivery.

This announcement came during a "Role of Digital at Walmart" meeting during Walmart Shareholders Week.

The new delivery system will get online orders to customers' doors using Walmart associates.

Walmart said the test program will cut shipping costs and get the packages to their destinations faster. President and CEO of Walmart E-Commerce Marc Lore said this program is optional for the associates.

"Imagine hundreds of associates they live all around different neighborhoods around the Walmart," he said. "We take the packages and say okay this associate lives over here and they're going to drive this way. Here's one one along the route."

Delivery trucks will be used to bring ship-to-home orders to a store close to the final destination, where an associate can sign up to deliver the items to the customer's house. Walmart spokesperson Danit Marquardt said this gives associates a way to earn extra income on their drive home.

With this test program, most packages are delivered the day after the customer places the order. Amazon has something similar, as they offer same-day delivery services in a lot of locations across the country.

"This is, you know, an interesting test and a great test that we are doing to ultimately leverage our unique assets including our stores, our fulfillment networks and our group of associates," she said.

Associates will be able to choose how many packages they can deliver, the size and weight limits of each package and which days they are able to make deliveries.

Walmart developed an app for this that allows the associates to put in their address and it gives them packages they can deliver on their commute route.

"Imagine in the future the possibilities once this network is built out," Lore said. "It allows people to deliver products that are already in the store, fresh or whatever the same day to customers."

Walmart is testing this delivery system in three stores, two in New Jersey and one in Northwest Arkansas.