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USA Today reports this morning that Walmart plans "to offer a discount on thousands of items ordered online -- if shoppers will then go to their closest store to pick them up." The story says that "Walmart’s latest deal allows the world’s biggest retailer to offer the ease of online shopping while taking advantage of its thousands of stores, cutting costs while still offering convenience. Customers save on delivery costs and get their orders faster -- and maybe they'll even stick around and shop."

When the promotion kicks in next week, it will include about 10,000 SKUs, that are available exclusively online, with the plan to expand the promotion to more than a million items by summer.

Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce, says that the promotion is being supported by the fact that all the deliveries will be made by Walmart's trucks to its stores, without the extra cost that gets built into the use of outside delivery vehicles. The promotion will offer the biggest price cuts on the biggest items, because that's where the biggest shipping savings can be realized.

The move is part of Walmart's ongoing effort to differentiate itself from and compete more effectively against Amazon.
KC's View:
This is where Lore engineers the greatest possible use of the Walmart infrastructure in order to create unique promotions that, at least for the moment, Amazon can't duplicate.

Now, the question is whether people who shop online will find the promotions (which, I suspect, Amazon will endeavor to match) to be sufficiently attractive that they'll place their orders online and then drive off to deal with an actual store environment.

I wouldn't. For me, the secret sauce of online shopping is the convenience of not having to go to the store. But not everybody feels the same way, and it'll be interesting to see the impact that this has on Walmart's online business.