Walmart is considering doing something that most people would find extremely radical.
The company is in the early planning stages of a service that would see in-store customers rent space in their vehicles and their time to the mega-retailer to deliver products it sells online. The move would combat same-day delivery ideas from Amazon and reportedly what's in the works with Google, which might have already signed on Target for such a service.
According to Reuters, which spoke with Walmart representatives on the idea, people would order products online. Walmart would then tap in-store customers willing to deliver products to the online shopper's home, effectively creating a crowd-sourced delivery model.
"I see a path to where this is crowd-sourced," Walmart.com CEO Joel Anderson told Reuters in an interview published today.
Walmart currently relies on FedEx to deliver products from its stores to customers. In five metro areas, it's testing a service called Walmart To Go, in which its own delivery vehicles are bringing products to customer homes on the same day they're ordered. A move to make customers deliver products could add a whole different twist.
Still, there are a slew of possible hurdles facing such a service before it even starts testing. For one thing, do online customers really want other shoppers delivering their products? Government regulatory hurdles on privacy might come into play. And there's no telling what major companies, like FedEx, might say about it.
For now, Walmart executives aren't promising too much, saying only that the idea is in "the brainstorming stage." The company anticipates that if it moves forward with the idea, it could make its way to some stores in one to two years.