Just days after Walmart opened its new white label last mile delivery service for other retailers in the US, the box store giant announced this week that it plans to close its distribution centers, fulfillment centers and shipping offices by 20,000 To expand employees. Available jobs include order filler, cargo handler, elevator operator, technician, and management positions.
See More: Walmart will add 20,000 employees in the supply chain
Logistics and supply chain headaches have plagued retailers since almost the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are few signs of an end in sight. According to VesselsValue, over 375 container ships are currently waiting in ports around the world; Raj Patel, Senior Director of 3PL Industry Strategy at Blue Yonder, told PYMNTS last month that he expects the next 18 to 24 months to continue to be a struggle for retailers.
Amazon is also in the midst of its own hiring surge for more than 40,000 corporate and technology positions in the United States in addition to “tens of thousands” hourly positions on the Amazon Operations network. This is the first hiring surge under the new CEO Andy Jassy, who succeeded founder Jeff Bezos in early July.
Walmart and Amazon are the two largest private employers in the United States with 2.3 million and 1.3 million employees, respectively.
Introduction of BNPL
In the latest high profile announcement from Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), Amazon and Affirm signed a deal to test the payment option.
The Affirm payment option will initially only be rolled out to select customers, but Amazon’s long-term plan is to extend the benefit to more customers in the coming month. Walmart made its own pact with Affirm in 2019, allowing shoppers in 4,000 locations and online to use BNPL to complete their purchases.
Read: Amazon enters the BNPL space with an affirmed partnership
Having both retail giants in its portfolio is a huge win for Affirm – Amazon and Walmart together account for nearly 20% of total consumer retail spending – and yet another sign that banks need to innovate to stay competitive or to be in the dust stay. For Amazon and Walmart, sharing the same BNPL provider means just another level of competition as they compete for consumers’ wallets.
Delivery to the Big Apple
Walmart this week expanded its delivery pilot with Instacart to include parts of New York City one year after successful pilots in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The partnership, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, brings Walmart’s presence to Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx – but not to the 1.7 million or so people who live in Manhattan.
Related: Instacart-Walmart delivery pact fuels online food wars
Walmart has no physical presence in the Big Apple, but instead uses stores near the city to fulfill orders for groceries, housewares and electronics through Instacart. The move puts pressure on Target – which has a presence in New York and offers delivery through its subsidiary Shipt – and seeks to keep Walmart on par with Amazon.
Walmart also has partnerships with DoorDash and other delivery services as it continues to seek to grow its nearly year-long Walmart + service, which is seen by many to be crucial in the fight against Amazon. The problem, however, is that many retailers are vying for the same vendors as they rush to meet consumer demand for speed, and Walmart’s weight only goes so far when it proves difficult to find and get reliable drivers especially since they are usually contract workers who receive only a few benefits.
Walmart previously offered grocery delivery in New York City through Jet.com until the service was discontinued in 2019. The retailer also previously offered a concierge shopping service in New York City called Jetblack, but it closed in early 2020.
See: Walmart Shuttering Text Driven Shopping Service Jetblack
Limits for logistics
Ahead of the Christmas shopping season, Amazon is reportedly tightening its third-party inventory limits, even after the e-commerce giant has spent the past few months expanding the capacity of its logistics network.
This is the second year in a row that Amazon has introduced stricter quantity limits for sellers using FBA. Last year, the limits resulted in some sellers expressing concerns that they might not be able to meet demand, especially for the hottest items.
See: Merchants Fear Amazon’s Storage Restrictions Will Affect Christmas Sales
Although the limits apply to all product categories, they vary depending on the item. Modern Retail reported earlier this week that oversized products appear to be more restricted than smaller products, perhaps because they take up more storage space. But “oversize” is a relative term; For example, a yoga mat is oversized according to Amazon.
In a conference call with analysts in July, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky stated that “throttling storage space for third parties is not something we’d like to do … and that’s why we’re expanding our network.”
“It’s hard to go fast, but we’re moving as fast as possible,” said Olsavsky. In the past 18 months, Amazon has doubled the size of its fulfillment network, but the CFO added that the company “is not where we want to be in a number of dimensions”.
“We’ve been playing catch-up pretty much since the pandemic began,” said Olsavsky.
NEW PYMNTS DATA: 58 PERCENT OF MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES USE CRYPTO CURRENCY
Above: Despite their price volatility and regulatory uncertainty, new PYMNTS studies show that 58 percent of multinationals are already using at least one form of cryptocurrency – especially when transferring money across borders. The new survey on Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Global Business, a collaboration between PYMNTS and Circle that surveyed 500 executives, examines the potential and pitfalls crypto faces on its way into the financial mainstream.