e-comm

Walmart to Opens Another Dark Store, Explore Ghost Kitchens in Omnichannel Push

The new programs are a harbinger of Walmart’s larger e-comm efforts.

· less than 3 min read

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In the blue light glow of last night’s TikTok event, you may have missed Walmart’s low-fi moves to build a profitable e-comm arm.

Entering uncarted territory: Walmart is converting one of its Dallas area Supercenters into a dark store, the Dallas Morning News first reported.

  • Dark stores speed up online fulfillment by shortening the distance between products and consumers—a necessity in Walmart’s biggest market (Dallas-Fort Worth).
  • Once the new center opens, employees who previously held store roles will have the option to be retrained for fulfillment work.

This isn’t a total floorplan flip: Walmart said in January it would rethink its store experiences to pack more online orders. Retailers including Best Buy, Macy’s, Whole Foods, and a younger Walmart have turned the lights off on shoppers with the same goal before.

  • Other retailers (Apple, Nordstrom, the list goes on) are scratching a similar itch with online fulfillment from operational stores.

Hitting ghost mode: Walmart Canada is testing a ghost kitchen concept at a store outside Toronto, with four more arriving on the menu up north this year. Shoppers can choose two adventures: 1) prepped meals or convenience items, and 2) delivery or in-store pickup.

Undercover operation

Walmart’s latest e-comm experiments complement a larger initiative to amplify its online presence, Business Insider reports.

In a confidential plan (codename: Project Glass), Walmart said its current ops “fail” shoppers. So it wants to convert Amazon boxes to Walmart boxes by...

  • Speeding up fulfillment times, including a push for one-hour delivery.
  • Folding grocery and everything-else fulfillment into a single in-app experience.

Even with new investments, Walmart’s still an oversized underdog. For example, check out its delivery real estate: Research firm R5 Capital estimates Amazon operates 15x more fulfillment centers than Walmart—and Amazon's closing in on 1,500+ delivery centers.

Bottom line: To catch up with its biggest competitor, Walmart’s throwing everything into the cart and seeing what fits.

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