retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNN has a story about something that Walmart and Nordstrom have in common - they are both opening physical stores where people can’t actually go shopping.

• “Earlier this month, Walmart opened Walmart Pickup Point, a 40,000 square-foot prototype store outside of Chicago in Lincolnwood, Illinois, to cater to customers' online pickups and deliveries. Customers drive up to the site to designated parking spots, and a Walmart worker will load up their trunk with their order.

“The inside of the Lincolnwood locations looks like a Walmart with groceries and everyday items such as diapers, household cleaners and pet supplies. Unlike a traditional Walmart supercenter, however, customers won't be able go inside. It is also testing a similar model near its Arkansas headquarters.”

The CNN piece compares the Walmart Pickup Point to Nordstrom Local:

• “Nordstrom Local hubs are smaller than its traditional department stores. They give customers a place to make pickups and returns and take advantage of Nordstrom's alteration and tailoring services. Nordstrom has three Local stores in Los Angeles and is slated to open its first two in New York City in September.”

But the only clothes you’ll find there are those that you’ve picked out online and have had transferred there to be tried on.

CNN writes that “Walmart and Nordstrom's innovations are the latest examples of how retailers are attempting to create distinctive services to fight off Amazon.”
KC's View:
Here’s a prediction … look for Kroger to test a similar approach in Florida, where it is building a new robotics warehouse as part of its Ocado deal, even though it doesn’t have any Kroger stores there. (It does have some Lucky stores in which it has invested, but not nearly a big enough presence to justify this kind of warehouse expense.)

As I said last week when they broke ground in Florida, it strikes me that there is no reason that Kroger can operate a virtual pure-play e-commerce business in Florida, a place where almost everybody comes from someplace else and many of those places were served by Kroger. Furthermore, Kroger has lots of shopper data and it knows how to use it.

Easy peasy. (Well, not really … but certainly not as complicated as building or buying a chain there.)