Walmart Announces 2 Large-Scale Online Fulfillment Centers

Oct 01, 2013 9:12 PM  By

Walmart has announced two new centers dedicated to filling online orders, including one in Texas and one in Pennsylvania that will be its largest ever.These two new online fulfillment centers are just part of a next-generation fulfillment network that will deliver U.S. customer orders faster and at a lower cost.

In addition to these new and existing facilities dedicated to online orders, Walmart is uniquely positioned to ship online orders from stores and many of its more than 130 distribution centers, all leveraging its world-class transportation network. The new online facilities extend Walmart’s anytime, anywhere experience that lets customers shop seamlessly across online, mobile and stores.

“With our dedicated online facilities and 4,100 stores within five miles of two-thirds of the U.S. population, we gain a significant advantage by being positioned in the most important location – close to our customers,” said Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com.   “This unique combination allows us to get more products to our customers faster and at a lower cost.”

The new center based in Fort Worth, Texas, is 800,000 sq. ft. and will have 275 full-time positions.  It began shipping orders last week.  The Bethlehem, Pa. operation will be more than one million sq. ft. and will ultimately employ more than 350 full-time associates. It is scheduled to open in the first quarter of next year. Combined, the new operations will house hundreds of thousands of items ranging from electronics, to toys, apparel, fitness equipment, sporting goods and more.

New Centers Support Online Growth and Expanded Product Selection on Walmart.com
This holiday season customers will have access to more than five million products on Walmart.com, which is over twice as many as last year, including its own items and items offered through marketplace sellers on the site.  The company expects that number to reach the tens of millions in the coming years.  Walmart expects sales from its e-commerce business to exceed $10 billion globally this fiscal year, and announced global growth of 30 percent in the quarter ended July 31. In addition to the U.S., Walmart Global eCommerce sales come primarily from Brazil, China, and the UK.

To support its growth, Walmart will continue to expand its use of large-scale online fulfillment centers, and is also leveraging online fulfillment areas within its distribution centers and utilizing stores to ship online orders directly to customers.  More than 10 percent of units ordered on Walmart.com are now shipped to a customer’s door from a store, and more than 50 percent of these orders are delivered in two days or less.

In just the past two years, Walmart.com has sped up delivery by 15 percent, while reducing overall costs by 10 percent by optimizing the way orders are shipped using Walmart’s different physical locations.  Part of this optimization is enabled by algorithms developed by @WalmartLabs that determine the best shipping node based on the customer location and items ordered. The new centers will provide even faster delivery while further reducing costs.

The two facilities are expected to provide more than 600 full-time positions in Pennsylvania and Texas, and would likely add another 600 workers during the holidays and other peak seasons.  The Fort Worth facility will be operated by Brentwood, Tenn.-based OHL, a global supply chain management solutions company.  The Bethlehem, Pa. center will be fully operated by Walmart.

Letting Customers Shop Seamlessly Across Online, Mobile and Stores
The new online fulfillment centers continue to expand Walmart’s ability to serve customers anytime and anywhere, by letting them shop seamlessly across online, mobile and stores.  Customers can order items online and ship them to their door, or pick up online items in a store as quickly as the same day.  Walmart’s mobile apps also allow customers to easily bring together the web and store experience.