Wal-Mart Says Its Site-To-Store Program Doing Well

Written by Evan Schuman
July 10th, 2007

With Wal-Mart extending its program to more than 3,300 stores, it reports some of its internal results in shipping and fuel savings.

Wal-Mart’s version of the virtually ubiquitous buy-online-pickup-in-store strategy has reduced customer shipping costs by $5 million while sharply increasing new customer acquisitions and in-store upsells, according to figures released Tuesday from the world’s largest retailer.

In announcing that it is extending its Site-to-Store program to more than 3,300 stores in the U.S., Wal-Mart released a handful of carefully selected stats to show that its approach to the strategy is working.

Wal-Mart’s approach is slightly different than the traditional approach, which uses the Web to help move in-store merchandise. The twist to Site-to-Store?which was launched in March–is that promotes “tens of thousands of products” that are not available in stores and then offers to ship them free to a local Wal-Mart.

Since the launch, about one-third of all sales have beeen placed through Site-to-Store, Wal-Mart said.specifying that ” More than half-a-million total units have been shipped through Site- to-Store, saving customers more than $5 million in shipping fees.”

On the new customer acquisition front, Wal-Mart’s statement said that “more than 50 percent of Site-to-Store orders [came] from new customers who make their first purchase at using the service.” The chain also reported a 20 percent increase in the number of Site-to-Store “customers who spend an additional $60 on purchases in the store when picking up their orders.”

In the environmentally green arena, the $345-billion chain reported a weekly gasoline savings of 1,000 gallons and a monthly box reduction of 20,000 “as a result of transportation and packaging efficiencies.”

That last claim caught the attention of veteran retail observer Jeff Roster, a Gartner research VP specializing in retail.

“People save on shipping costs only to put some of it back into costs to drive to the store to pick up the merchandise. For me, it?s about convenience. I want to make sure the kayak is there along with the size 14 shoes I saw,” Roster said. “Given the mileage I get on my crew cab truck, I didn?t save much. But the idea that green initiatives are gaining traction is fascinating. This could have a major impact on store design, logistics and definitely IT. This will also force IT service providers to embrace green IT as a manufacturing as well as a marketing strategy.”

As for the other figures Wal-Mart released, Roster applauded the progress, especially the claim about customers spending more on-site. “If people are going to drive to the store, they are going to make incremental purchases,” Roster said. “It is just another indication at how nimble Wal-Mart is.”

Greg Buzek, the president of the IHL Consulting Group, said that while he “loves the idea” of using this tactic to get customers into the stores?and also to help Wal-Mart compete with those who want to compete on pure price?he wasn’t clear from the released figures whether the additional $60 referenced was actually new money or not.

“The question is whether those people would have been at the Wal-Mart anyway. If they were planning to be there anyway and spend the $60, then this is no big deal,” Buzek said. “If they can quantify that this was an additional trip and that they spent $60, then that is huge. I can?t tell” based on the figures Wal-Mart released.


One Comment | Read Wal-Mart Says Its Site-To-Store Program Doing Well

  1. MSCooper Says:

    I purchased a headset for the television using this ‘site-to-store’ program on July 7 2007.

    Below are the back and forth e-mails between myself and WalMart for your review.

    My only comment is that if you wish to purchase an item using WalMart’s ‘site-to-store’ scheme, do not expect to receive your merchandise in a timely manner.

    Dear Michael,

    Thank you for contacting us at Your comments and questions
    are very important to us as we strive to meet your needs.

    We are writing to inform you that order should be ready for pickup on
    7-18-07. You should recieve an email stating that it is ready for
    pickup. If you do not recieve email please contact us back. We are sorry
    for any inconvience.

    If we may be of further assistance, please email us at,
    or call us at 1-800-966-6546. We’re here to serve you from 6:00 AM CST
    to 1:00 AM CST, 7 days a week!


    Customer Service at

    Original Message Follows:
    As I informed you in the previous e-mail below, I was advised of that
    fact after driving to your store since you people failed to information
    me of that little fact when I originally requested the shipping status.

    Apparenly you folks are either unable or unwilling to read what is sent
    so let me suggest that you take a shot at reading my e-mail below.

    You are to find whoever has the juice to do whatever needs to be done in
    order to get my merchandise into my hands by this upcoming Wednesday.

    Your failure to comply will result in these e-mails being referred to
    your senior management as well as the news media.

    Please do not waste my time e-mailing me the anticipated delivery date
    when it was me that e-mailed you with that information.

    You people are something else.

    Good day,

    —– Original Message —-
    From: Help
    To: Michael Cooper
    Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2007 3:28:42 PM
    Subject: Re: Tracking an Order

    Dear Michael Cooper ,

    Thank you for shopping at We truly appreciate your

    We are writing to inform you that your Order # 2677231190423 has
    shipped on 7/10/2007 and should be delivered on or around 07/24/07 to
    store location:

    Wal-Mart Supercenter #2595
    8924 Quilceda Blvd
    Tulalip, WA 98271
    (360) 657-1192

    Although customers will NOT be able to track Free Store Delivery items
    online, you will be notified by emails when the item arrives to the
    store 7-10 business days after the order is confirmed. Please take into
    consideration that it usually takes 24 to 48 hours to process before an
    item ships . If the order is not picked up within 21 days from receipt
    at the store, the store updates the status of the order to ?R? (Refund)
    with reason?Expired?. The Customer will then receive a refund from We do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused
    you regarding this order.

    To pick up your item you will need to go to the Layaway Counter (usually
    located at the back of the store). Please bring a valid photo ID and
    this email notification.

    If we may be of further assistance, please email us at,
    or call us at 1-800-966-6546. We’re here to serve you from 7:00 AM EST
    to 2:00 AM EST, 7 days a week!



    Customer Service at

    Original Message Follows:
    Real cute –
    I went to the store and I am told that the headset will not be delivered
    to the store until the 24th of this month? I am not at all pleased that
    you failed to provide that information to me in your reply, resulting in
    my being required to drive to the store for no reason.

    WalMart’s poor shipping practice is not brought to the attention of
    customrs until after WalMart has the customer’s money in hand so it is
    no wonder that you people do not provide delivery tracking for
    site-to-store deliveries. It apparently takes you people nearly a month
    to get a small package delivered to its own store. Wholly unacceptable.

    Here is what I am going to do my young friend:

    I am going to allow you to forward this complaint to whoever has the
    authority to get the headset into my hands on or before end-of-business
    this upcoming Wednesday.

    Failure to get that task accomplished will result in my contacting
    WalMart Senior Management, as well as the media, by forwarding our
    e-mails concerning this matter.

    Thanks for wasting my time and gas. I will expect my merchandise by

    —– Original Message —-
    From: Help
    Sent: Friday, July 13, 2007 7:30:03 PM
    Subject: Re: Tracking an Order

    Dear Michael,

    Thank you for contacting us at Your comments and questions
    are very important to us as we strive to meet your needs.

    My name is Maria. I am with the Customer Service Team. Thank
    you for allowing me to assist you today.

    I am writing to let you know that your order 2677231190423 for Sentry
    Wireless Headphones, HO900 was shipped on July 10, 2007. Please check
    with your local store, with information detailed below, if the item is
    now ready for pick up.

    Wal-Mart Supercenter #2595
    8924 Quilceda Blvd
    Tulalip, WA 98271
    (360) 657-1192

    If they confirm that they do not have the order, please contact us again
    and we will submit a follow up request to the store. If they advise that
    the item is now ready to be claimed, please go to the site-to-store pick
    up area (usually located at the back of the store) and bring a valid
    photo ID and this email notification. I do apologize for any

    Michael, if we may be of further assistance, please email us at, or call us at 1-800-966-6546. We’re here to serve you
    from 7:00 AM EST to 2:00 AM EST, 7 days a week!


    Customer Service at

    Original Message Follows:
    The following message was received on July 12,2007 06:00 PM, by the Help Desk:

    Customer ID : 100
    First Name : Michael
    Last Name : Cooper

    Order Number : 2677231190423
    Comments : I expected this item to have been received by the
    local store long before now.

    When was it shipped and when is it scheduled to arrive?


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