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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Walmart Stores in the U.S. is offering “pickup discounts” to online shoppers who opt to pick their orders up in-store.

The retailer is ramping its e-commerce offerings at a faster pace to close the gap with larger rival Amazon.com, a Reuters report says.

Starting April 19, Walmart will offer pickup discounts on 10,000 items and on more than one million products by June. In a blog post, said Mark Ibbotson, executive vice-president of central operations, in a blog post. Walmart is expanding its same-day pick up service and is rolling out a pick-up tower – a giant vending machine that delivers packages ordered online when a customer enters a bar code – to more stores.

Online orders picked up in-store already qualify for no shipping charges since the retailer saves on shipping fees. The latest discounts come on top of that.

Marc Lore, head of Walmart's e-commerce operations, told Reuters that he expects the move to boost transactions online and improve customer traffic in stores. "This is a very material change in the value proposition we are offering customers," he said.

Lore said Walmart is able to offer these discounts because it is able to eliminate delivery costs by leveraging its fleet of more than 6,700 trucks to deliver products from warehouses to stores.

The decision to offer these discounts is the latest move by Lore to revamp an existing e-commerce offering from Walmart. The change is expected to improve the retailer's competitive advantage by making its 4,700 U.S. stores more relevant to shoppers in a digital age, analysts said.

Lore, who founded Jet.com and recently sold it to Walmart for more than $3 billion, has been at the forefront of the bold moves the discount retailer has undertaken to challenge Amazon. Lore has helped orchestrate the acquisition of three online retailers, shuffled Walmart's e-commerce decks and has made two-day shipping free on all online orders over $35, without any membership fees, to compete with Amazon's popular Prime shipping program.

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