Wednesday, April 6

Conveniently Walmart

Walmart recently announced plans to open up thousands of much smaller, more convenient stores called Walmart Express. The stores would be approximately 15,000 square feet of retail space, compared to the current 185,000 of most locations. The company plans to test various mixes of product selection as well as actual locations. Pretty smart if you ask me.

So I guess Walmart is taking on 7-11 and Wawa? Kind of -- those formats are a lot smaller, more like 2,000 square feet. These Express stores will be a lot bigger than the typical convenience store and will have a much larger product selection. "Express" might not be the right term, more like "downsize" or "mini"!

Speculation is that this will allow Walmart to enter into more markets and locations, particularly urban locations, where the company has had trouble penetrating. That's speculation, but it's probably true. It is definitely another move toward quicker, more convenient service though. Running into a smaller store with less volume has to be faster and more convenient for shopping. Especially when you only need a couple of items.

Walmart has become a huge portion of many consumer brands business, and this will surely make them even more dominant.

The company is also rolling out another convenient service called "Pick Up Today" where shoppers can order items online and then pick them up at the front of the store. Much like Sears and Best Buy, Walmart is rolling this service out to 3,200 locations as we speak.

You can read a little more about it all here.

It's nice to see Walmart evolving -- if you are going to remain the world's largest retailer, then you have to continually evolve for your customer. Convenience is one way, and probably a good one at that.

What's your experience? Jim.

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