THORNTON, Colo. -- Wal-Mart’s latest convenience-store play is about more than the retail giant trying its hand in a competing channel. Its Wal-Mart Pickup With Fuel concept stores are aimed at finding that place “where digital meets physical,” says Gina Kretoski, e-commerce market coach for the Bentonville, Ark.-based company.
“Customers are evolving and grocery is evolving,” Kretoski told CSP Daily News. “E-commerce is a growing industry, and we’re going to follow our customers.”
The two Wal-Mart Pickup With Fuel stores in Alabama and Colorado allow customers to place orders online—anything from fruits and vegetables to shoes or a lawnmower—and pick them up as soon as four hours later at the c-store.
Kretoski gave CSP an exclusive tour of the newest store in Thornton, Colo. Here are some highlights …
The 4,000-square-foot store opened in December and includes 16 fueling positions.
The pickup area uses a kiosk to alert associates that a customer has arrived to collect his or her order.
The process allows customers to make the trip without ever getting out of the car and guarantees services within 5 minutes. Grocery and other products are brought to the c-store up to three times a day from a nearby Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Foodservice options, including roller-grill products and hot sandwiches, are available right inside the doors of the store. Fresh-made doughnuts and coffee are also available.
All sizes of fountain drinks and Community Coffee beverages are 88 cents.
The soda fountain includes both Coca-Cola and Pepsi products. Also available, fresh iced tea, a four-head frozen-beverage machine and f’real milkshakes and smoothies.
Wal-Mart maintains its low-price guarantee in the c-store, with all sizes of fountain drinks and coffee at 88 cents, 20-ounce Gatorade at $1.68 and frozen burritos available for 38 cents each. The walls are lined with prices for customers to see the moment they walk in the door. Low-profile shelves also make it easy to see the entire store from the entrance.
What’s not in the store are electronics, an oversized selection of general merchandise or products consumers might associate with Wal-Mart but not a convenience store. “It’s a pretty typical c-store,” says Kretoski. Except for that pickup area ...
Watch for a complete report on Wal-Mart's latest entry into convenience stores in the March issue of CSP magazine.