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Walmart Has a Strategic Advantage in Ecommerce Fulfillment

Walmart opened up another large-scale ecommerce fulfillment center in October, this one in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s the third next-generation fulfillment center to open in the U.S. in as many months. In July, the retailer opened up a fulfillment center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; and in August, it opened another in Plainfield, Indiana.

Walmart also announced last month plans to build two new fulfillment centers in Davenport, Florida that will open next year.

But while the new centers are the “crown jewels” of Walmart’s fulfillment network, they’re not the only assets the retailer has to fulfill online orders, a spokesperson told EcommerceBytes.

Ravi Jariwala said each of the new large-scale fulfillment centers is 1.2 million square feet and capable of holding millions of items. “The strategic location of these new facilities gets us very close to our customer demand, allowing us to ship quickly and very cost efficiently,” he said.

However, “We have dozens of smaller, existing ecommerce facilities,” Jariwala said, “as well as dozens of store distribution centers that are pulling double-duty by fulfilling for stores as well as fulfilling ecommerce orders.”

Walmart has over 80 stores spread out throughout the country that ship online orders directly to customers nearby. And that’s in addition to the 4,500 stores across the US where customers can pick up their online orders for free.

“All of these assets are connected by Walmart’s world-class transportation fleet,” he said. “The point is, our network is dense, it’s close to customers and there’s nothing else like it in retail.”

In a video on its website showcasing its ecommerce fulfillment network, Walmart said that each of its new facilities has 5 times the SKU storage capacity than its entire network had just a year ago.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.