Madison County Walmarts Offer Experimental New Shopping Experience

Nationally speaking, Walmart was the top U.S. container importer in 2010. As for exports, which supported about 9.7 million U.S. jobs in 2011, the monolithic retail entity does very little, if any at all, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good at shipping things. And it’s about to get a whole lot better, thanks to a new online ordering option.

The Huntsville market in Madison County is one of only five areas in the entire nation that will be testing the superstore’s new service, allowing consumers to order their groceries online, and then head to participating stores to pick them up.

Walmart managers hope that the new service will make consumers’ shopping experiences with the retail behemoth more convenient. Although there is a $30 minimum purchase required, the service itself is free.

It seems, though, that the service has not been very popular thus far, and to stimulate consumer participation, the titanic retailer is offering a discount of $10 on shoppers’ first order of $50 or more.

Surprisingly, many actually anticipated the model’s lukewarm results thus far. BOPIS — “buy online pickup in store” — doesn’t normally save shoppers much time. According to a study by StellaService, it only shaves a few minutes off of consumers’ shopping times. On average, a BOPIS shopper only needed 5.4 minutes to reach a cashier, as opposed to the seven minutes a standard shopper would.

However, BOPIS shoppers also have to wait for a confirmation of their order, which typically takes just over an hour, according to the StellaService study.

The Madison County stores currently participating include the Walmart Neighborhood Market located at 7140 Wall-Triana Highway, Madison, and the Walmart Neighborhood Market, located at 4226 Northwest Oakwood Ave., Huntsville. The Walmart Supercenter at 2900 Memorial Parkway will soon be added to the list.