Delivery Takes Center Stage in Retail Fight

The week started with a simple blog post from Amazon.

“Get Same-Day Delivery from your favorite retail stores,” the eCommerce giant said in a blog post, as it outlined its latest effort to get more in-stock goods, from more stores, into the hands of more people.

On its own, that offer is a game changer, but Amazon took the 12-city pilot program one step further by making it free for Prime members who spend $25, or just $2.99 ​​if they don’t.

Read more: Amazon Offers Same-Day Delivery From Local Retailers

“We see high potential in our expanded seller partnership with Amazon, which includes delivery directly from select PacSun retail locations,” said Mimi Ruiz, vice president of eCommerce at PacSun — one of four retail brands joining the program from the start — in the post . “This is one more way for us to offer our customers the styles they want and love, when they want them.”

While the free nearby delivery rollout is starting on a limited, ZIP code basis, more stores and more cities are expected to be added soon. It also comes in the wake of another Prime perk upgrade announcement that gives members a free year of Grubhub food delivery, a partnership that could see Amazon taking a 15% stake in the service if it proves successful.

See more: Amazon’s Budding Grubhub Partnership Could Grow to 15% Stake

Controlling the Message

As Amazon was busy piling on the perks for its Prime members, Walmart spent much of the week explaining its decision to lay off 200 people from its corporate headquarters in Arkansas.

Read more: Walmart Cuts Jobs at Corporate, Braces for Sales Slowdown

It didn’t help matters that the staffing change development came just 10 days after the retail giant lowered its profit outlook for the year in the face of changed spending habits by increasingly strapped consumers.

See more: Walmart Cuts Q2, FY23 Profit Outlook as It Lowers Prices to Move Goods

Taken together, the primary narrative surrounding Walmart this week was that the country’s largest employer was cutting jobs, a hard and troubling shift in dialogue from the drumbeat of everyday low prices it had been riding for several months.

Lost beneath those headlines was the fact and context that Walmart’s workforce changes were not only tiny, amounting to 1/8,000th of a percent of the 1.6 million people on its US payroll, but were also likely to be offered different positions in more growth- oriented sections of the business.

“Obviously, as customers continue to evolve, it is important that we continue to evolve too,” Walmart Director of Global Communications Jimmy Carter told PYMNTS in a telephone conversation and emailed statement.

Read more: Walmart Layoffs Reflect Its Digital Evolution More Than Fresh Economic Insight

“We’re updating our structure and evolving select roles to provide clarity and better position the company for a strong future,” he added, noting ongoing investments in key growth areas such as “eCommerce, technology, health and wellness, supply chain and advertising sales.”

However Walmart’s job strategy and Amazon’s nearby delivery program work out, the Seattle-based eCommerce company is enjoying a near-term lead beyond the messaging wars as its battered stock has increased beyond nearly 40% from its low in mid-June, compared to a 5% gain by Walmart and a 10% advance for the S&P 500.

While only a short-term measure, the market is clearly reflecting a sentiment shift that, at the moment, looks to be moving away from its singular focus on prices and inflation and more towards a recovery and consumers’ growing desire for value and efficiency, as well as delivery.

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About: The findings in PYMNTS’ new study, “The Super App Shift: How Consumers Want To Save, Shop And Spend In The Connected Economy,” a collaboration with PayPal, analyzed the responses from 9,904 consumers in Australia, Germany, the UK and the US and showed strong demand for a single multifunctional super apps rather than using dozens of individual ones.

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