walmart-truckDo you remember when Walmart lead the charge to implement EDI? If you're one of their suppliers you probably also remember the onboarding experience and the lack of choice you had. To be fair, Walmart did offer a choice - but it included the option of never receiving another order from them. For most of its suppliers this was not a viable option. Is it time to follow Walmart again?

This time the options are squarely aimed at its retailer competitors, and by competitors I mean every retailer on the planet regardless of the market segment you operate in. Why? I followed another of our own Buzz links to an article on RIS that calls out 5 retailers to watch with regard to omnichannel retailing. The article points out that while it is certainly at the top of the retailer stack it's still doing things differently. And a significant portion of that difference is its investment in omnichannel marketing.

Here's a list directly from the article:

1 - Averages a profit of $1.8 million every hour
2 - The average Walmart Superstore stocks more than 140,000 individual items
3 - Set to open a 1-million square-foot fulfillment center in Bethlehem, PA in Q1 2014
4 - Committed to spending $.10 per share on e-commerce development in fiscal 2014
5 - 90% of Americans live within 20 miles of a Walmart
6 - Over 245 million customers visit the retailer both online and in store every week
7 - Added 7.1 million square feet of retail space in the U.S. in Q3 2013

Take a close look at the 3rd item in the list... 1-million square-foot fulfillment center. That should send shivers down the spine of any retailer (both online and onland) particularly in the Eastern side of the US. Coupled with its ubiquitous presence (see item 5) there's no reason the retailer would ever need to rely solely on the USPS or any public delivery system. 

And this is the real strength behind omnichannel retailing. Orders can be placed from the location and device of the shopper's choice and delivered to the location of the buyer's choice. Order inside the store on their smartphone and have it delivered to their home, or any combination of order/fulfillment options. 

For retailers not competing directly with Walmart their plans should be studied and emulated as far as possible given their own physical presence. For other retailers with similar physical presences, the time to get onboard with omnichannel is now... actually it was yesterday.
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