Fast Five | Walmart’s Streamy Desires, Amazon Same-Day, & The Nightmare Before Christmas That Is Kohl’s Self-Pickup

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This is a podcast episode titled, Fast Five | Walmart’s Streamy Desires, Amazon Same-Day, & The Nightmare Before Christmas That Is Kohl’s Self-Pickup. The summary for this episode is: <p>In today’s Omni Talk Retail Fast Five Podcast, sponsored by&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Microsoft</a>, the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">A&amp;M Consumer and Retail Group</a>,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Takeoff</a>,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Sezzle</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Groceryshop</a>, Chris Walton and Mezzenga:</p><ul><li>Question whether Walmart partnering with a streaming service will do anything to boost Walmart+ subscriptions (short answer: no)</li><li>Blast Kohl’s for the hubris it is showing in its new self-pickup rollout</li><li>Debate the merits of mall-based retailers using Amazon to fulfill same-day orders</li><li>Call for an immediate halt to Walmart’s new “General Store” initiative out of respect for all the people at Walmart that were just laid off</li><li>And close with a look at 7-Eleven’s reported acquisition of Skipcart</li></ul><p>There’s all that, plus Roomba Cheez-It AI, 3-D printed food, and something the Brits call, “Pound Town.”</p><p>To redeem our discount to Manifest, <a href=";refId=OmniTalk&amp;utm_source=Omni+Talk&amp;utm_medium=Manifest+Partner&amp;utm_campaign=Register+Partner+" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">click here</a></p><p>Music by</p><p><br></p><p>Key takeaways: </p><ul><li>[05:22] Kohl's new self-pickup option and how it works</li><li>[11:02] Walmart's streamy desires</li><li>[15:34] Amazon Same-Day</li><li>[21:52] Walmart launching "mini" experiences with Getaway</li><li>[27:18] 7-Eleven has acquired Skipcart to compete with DoorDash directly</li><li>[31:54] Lightning round</li></ul>
Episode Overview
00:17 MIN
Kohl's new self-pickup option and how it works
05:39 MIN
Walmart's streamy desires
04:30 MIN
Amazon Same-Day
06:16 MIN
Walmart launching "mini" experiences with Getaway
05:25 MIN
7-Eleven has acquired Skipcart to compete with DoorDash directly
04:33 MIN
Lightning round
03:42 MIN

Anne Mezzenga: Hi. You're listening to the OmniTalk Fast Five brought to you in partnership with Microsoft, the A& M Consumer and Retail Group, Takeoff, and Sezzle. The OmniTalk Fast Five Podcast is the podcast that we hope makes you feel a little smarter, but most importantly, a little happier each week too. Today is August 11th, 2022. I'm your host, Anne Mezzenga.

Chris Walton: And I'm Chris Walton.

Anne Mezzenga: And I for one am back from Iceland and ready to discuss all the top headlines that made waves in the world of omnichannel retailing, not for just one week, but for the past two weeks. Chris, are you ready?

Chris Walton: Yeah. You were in Iceland, man. That's crazy. Tell the audience. Inquiring minds want to know, what it's like?

Anne Mezzenga: I'm an unofficial spokesperson for the country of Iceland now. They didn't ask me. They don't want me. I just evangelize Iceland to every single person. You've had to hear more about it this last week than you'd ever want to, but it was unbelievable.

Chris Walton: Yeah. I mean, you sent me a text. Your text was," It's magical."

Anne Mezzenga: It is.

Chris Walton: I'll never forget that text," It's magical."

Anne Mezzenga: It was magical.

Chris Walton: Made me think it was like Disneyland or something.

Anne Mezzenga: It kind of felt like you were on the scene of it.

Chris Walton: Over and under, because I actually should have put a poll out on this and I didn't, but over and under on how many hot springs pools you waded into on your trip.

Anne Mezzenga: Everyday. At least one every day.

Chris Walton: Like 10? How many in total?

Anne Mezzenga: I don't even know how many-

Chris Walton: It's probably more than one every day, right?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. I mean, we were there for six days, I think. We were at least one every day. So I would say six is probably the number, the total number. It was divided, six or seven maybe.

Chris Walton: Six separate hot springs wading experiences. That's what was magical.

Anne Mezzenga: It was magical. It was magical.

Chris Walton: I'm pretty jealous of you. You've been to London, Amsterdam, Germany, Madrid.

Anne Mezzenga: You've been with me in all these spaces.

Chris Walton: I haven't been to Iceland. I'm jealous. But I'm excited though because we're going to get back on the trade show circuit here.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: We got Grocery Shop in September in Vegas, which is my favorite place to go. Not your favorite place to go.

Anne Mezzenga: No.

Chris Walton: We've got NRF in January, Manifest in January.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes. I'm excited for Manifest because you know why?

Chris Walton: Why?

Anne Mezzenga: Last year they had Ludicrous and I cannot wait to know to see who they get this year. I am pumped and I think we learned more at that conference than we have in a very long time. It was so eye- opening.

Chris Walton: Yeah. No, for sure. I think it was like if I had an award to give out, I think it would be newcomer trade show of the year without a doubt. And good note here. We are actually officially the livestream MCs from the Manifest show. We just got named that this week.

Anne Mezzenga: They asked us back, yeah.

Chris Walton: Yeah, they asked us to do that again. And if you're interested too, there's a discount code for the show with a discount link really that gets you$ 200 off your registration for the show. We'll put that in the show notes for those that are you that are interested.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: But join us at the end of January. It's a really cool show. You learn a ton about things, especially in retail that you might not know that much about. All right, Anne. Well, today's review, it's that reviewing time.

Anne Mezzenga: It's review time once again.

Chris Walton: My favorite time of the podcast. And this quite possibly is my favorite Apple podcast handle of all time and that is Corksoaker11215 or I don't know, 11215. I have no idea, actually. 11215. Corksoaker11215.

Anne Mezzenga: Apparently Corksoaker is a really popular name.

Chris Walton: That is really hard to say on a podcast too if you're not careful, Corksoaker.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: Here's what the aforementioned Corksoaker had to say, Anne. He or she, I don't know who Corksoaker is.

Anne Mezzenga: No.

Chris Walton: That's really hard." Five stars. The best podcast about modern retail. I highly recommend." Which I think is an awesome review to come back to after two weeks of a hiatus.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, absolutely.

Chris Walton: I love the modern part, Anne.

Anne Mezzenga: Oh, it is a very modern retail show.

Chris Walton: Because we're very modern. There's nothing old in what we do, Anne, except maybe my bones and the blood that flows through my body on a given week. But yes, thank you Corksoaker11215 or 11215 or however you want to arrange those numerals.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes. And please join Corksoaker and leave a review. Pretty much with whatever Corksoaker does, I feel like that's a good like lesson for life. But join Corksoaker and leave us a review. If you're listening on Apple podcasts, heart the podcast of your own Spotify, Google, Amazon music. But please follow and subscribe so that we can keep making this content possible for all of you and we may just read it aloud one day for all of our listeners.

Chris Walton: Yes, please leave us a review and one up Corksoaker this week.

Anne Mezzenga: Not possible.

Chris Walton: All right, Anne. You ready to get to the fast five?

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: All right. Yes. Authoritatively.

Anne Mezzenga: Let's do it.

Chris Walton: All right. Today's fast five is brought to you with the help and support of our good friends at Grocery Shop. Are you a retailer or brand thinking about attending Grocery Shop this year? Well, don't even think about it without using our promo code specifically for our OmniTalk listeners. Just go to groceryshop. com and enter promo code rbot1950. That's R- B- O- T- 1950 for your special discounted rate. In today's fast five we've got news on Walmart seeking a streaming partner for Walmart +. Amazon launching same day delivery services for a bevy of mall- based retailers. Walmart again for its new mini retail travel experiences. 7- Eleven's reported Skipcart acquisition. But first we take off with a late breaking story out of Kohl's yesterday that just had to lead the show. Anne.

Anne Mezzenga: All right, Chris. That's right. According to a company press release, Kohl's has launched what it is calling self pick up at all Kohl's stores. So this is how it works. There's a demo link in the press release. Step one, you place your order and you select in- store pickup. You get an email from Kohl's that says your order's ready. And once you received an email, you can head into your Kohl store, click on the link to open the pickup pass.

Chris Walton: The pickup pass.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: Well, I didn't catch that yesterday. That's pretty funny actually, don't you think?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: The marketing team should have a field day with that. They won't, but they should.

Anne Mezzenga: They should. All right. Step two. Once you arrive in the store and find the self pickup area, wherever it is in the giant Kohl's box, you select start pickup on your mobile phone. Step three, you enter the four digit code that's listed on the self pick station to find your order. And step four, you get the location bin number of your order which is displayed on your mobile device. You get your order from the bin and select complete my order. And then finally, we're not done, step five. You take your kohls. com order and you're on your Merry way.

Chris Walton: Wow.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes. Chris, you had a couple of thoughts about this. Just a couple. Why don't you share those with the audience?

Chris Walton: Well, after that five step process, I think maybe I'm not even going to do this justice. But I mean, after you read that, I'm kind of lost already and I can't think of rolling something out with more points of failure. I don't think it's possible. This headline again to me and it's getting a lot of press today. It was like the first thing I read this morning when I woke up. This headline just proves to me that Kohle's leadership is absolutely lost at this point, Anne. That's my opinion here. And it's not lost like I took a wrong turn in a city I've never been in, it's like lost in and in that I can't find my way around my own house. That's how lost this is.

Anne Mezzenga: That's bad.

Chris Walton: Yeah, it's bad. It is. And the picture says a thousand words. And kudos to you because you found a picture of what the pickup station in store looks like. I'm going to put that in the show notes too. But it's basically shelving with cardboard bins, like the equivalent of what you find in the back room of most retailers, right?

Anne Mezzenga: Right.

Chris Walton: That is going to be such a disaster for a number of reasons. One, the thing I don't like about this, I question how much this has really been tested during holiday peak times. We've heard nothing about this. They're now rolling this out to all stores in time for the holidays, self pick up because you can do it yourself. Second, the process is incredibly confusing, as you just read. I don't know how they're not going to have mispicks by customers if everything's just laying out for anyone to take. You could just accidentally take something that's not yours. Third, don't even get me talking about theft. The theft seems like it's going to be rampant with this, which makes me question how much they've actually tested this. And then my last point, Anne, that really pisses me off, the hubris of the whole thing.

Anne Mezzenga: Well, why?

Chris Walton: Why does Kohl's think they can go where no one else has dared in how they're setting this up? When you have companies that are far more omnichannel than them like Zara or Home Depot. They're using pickup blockers that work just as well and don't come with nearly as many headaches. So that to me, the whole thing is downright laughable. But what do you think? Am I being extreme or do you agree with me? I think you probably agree with me too a degree.

Anne Mezzenga: The important thing is I want this to work for Kohl's. I was like, this is great. You're figuring out self pick up, help customers help themselves. This is like one of the cornerstones, I think, of modern convenience. But I am, I think, with you. I unfortunately think this is just destined to fail because-

Chris Walton: Why?

Anne Mezzenga: And I also love that the analog for this is like, well, it works for Sweetgreen and fast casual restaurants. Like yeah, if I get the wrong cob salad, not a big deal. It's like$ 15 loss. When you start thinking about major holiday purchases and who this is saving, the customers this is saving time for. If I spent a hundred dollars on an air fryer and it gets picked up by somebody else or I'm not there or it's not there when I get there, that's a big deal. That's a huge investment. And so I think this is still going to have to be heavily staffed. The only other place I've seen what we saw in that Kohl's photo of how they're doing this is at a Nordstrom store, but they have like six people manning that station to help pick in this order. It's not left to the customer.

Chris Walton: There's a different service component to it at Nordstrom store.

Anne Mezzenga: Totally, it's not left to the customers to try to completely figure this out on their own. And I think you bring up a good point of look how everybody else is doing it. Why not pick up lockers? If Kohl's is going to roll this out to every store, every locker company and their mother would be like, we'll offer you a rollout discount to roll out to every Kohl's store and you don't have to do like 10,000 lockers with... You could do a very small test with this and scale up how many lockers you have to create a much better customer experience and set yourself up for success. I don't know.

Chris Walton: I agree with you, Anne. Isn't the locker easier from the consumer too?

Anne Mezzenga: Absolutely.

Chris Walton: When you read through that thing to me, there's all these steps where all I do is get a QR code on my phone. I put it on the locker screen and the thing pops up magically again like we showed with Best Buy last year.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. And there's one item in there, not a whole box to sift through. I'm bummed, Kohls. I'm sorry.

Chris Walton: Yeah. I mean, you know me. I'd be the one where it tells me to go to locker or position two and I'm going to accidentally grab what's in three. That's just going to happen. But anyway, all right. We keep moving on. So we're both kind of negative on this Kohl's story then. You kind of came more negative on that.

Anne Mezzenga: I wanted it to work for them. I like the idea, but it's just I'm scared about the execution.

Chris Walton: Yeah, no. I mean, again, it just goes to a long list of things we've brought up around Kohl's. All right. Headline number two. Walmart is reportedly seeking a streaming partner to bolster its Walmart + subscription program. Details are thin, but news of this headline broke in the New York times last week after Business Insider also reported the week before that they obtained a leak memo which claimed that Walmart is being quite aggressive to get its employees to sign up for Walmart +, which it should be known is also free for them, Anne. That story cracks me up. According to the Times, Walmart recently met with executives from Disney, Comcast and Paramount about how streaming content might boost its Walmart + membership program. It's also unclear whether any of the streaming services plan to actually strike a deal with Walmart. Anne, what's your take?

Anne Mezzenga: I think if they can get this to work, I think it's a win- win for the streaming platforms and for Walmart and the customers of Walmart. I mean, it's great. It's an added bonus. I think, if though, and this is a major if, they can get people to sign up based on even the strong push they're making to try to get their employees signed up for the service. They're not even able to get their employees to sign up for the service with all the current benefits. That's going to be an issue. They're not the only ones that are doing partnerships with streaming partners to try to get that subscription. I mean, even with the current benefits. You take a look at all the current benefits. You get free in- home, in- fridge delivery. Okay. You get 10 cents a gallon off of fuel.

Chris Walton: Which is pretty massive, actually.

Anne Mezzenga: Totally. You get a Spotify membership. You get scan and go in the Walmart stores. And that's still not enough of an incentive for me to join Walmart +.

Chris Walton: Right, it's not. No, exactly. And it sounds like they're employees too, which is telling you-

Anne Mezzenga: Right. So yeah, I don't know that maybe Disney + subscription would be enough, but I think there's still going to have to be more.

Chris Walton: So do you like this move? I'm curious. I want to ask you this. Do you like this move as a focus? Should they even try to bring a streaming service on or did you think that's not even not a big enough hook?

Anne Mezzenga: No, I do think so.

Chris Walton: Really?

Anne Mezzenga: I feel like they're closely following the Amazon playbook, you know? Like, we have videos. We have this. They're just kind of copying and pasting, which you've said a hundred times. I still think leveraging your own Walmart assets, what about it in your Walmart world is going to get people to join this program? You can't just copy and paste what Amazon is doing. How do you bring Sam's Club into this? How do you bring other entities into this, your marketplace? What other things can you uniquely offer as Walmart?

Chris Walton: I love that you said that because that's when I... When I first read this story I was like, oh, that's cool. It makes sense. But then as I was thinking about it, preparing for the show, I was kind of like, I don't think this is going to work. I don't think it's going to make a difference. So I get it as an idea, but it honestly wouldn't make me pull the trigger on a Walmart + subscription either when I already have Amazon Prime and can get Disney on my own. Why is that going to put me over the top to then get Walmart +? It doesn't. And there's another point about that too. I'll say it again, and you brought it up, a free Sam's Club membership, something like that is much more enticing to me because that gives me something I wouldn't consider on my own. It gives me new access to something I wouldn't otherwise try. And that should be the intersection of the Venn diagram here in what you're putting in this program to make it enticing, not things that I'm going to do anyway or that aren't convincing for me. The other point about it that I kind of alluded to that's interesting to me is like, my question is who leaked this story?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: Because if it was Walmart, then they want it out there to build hype. And then it also makes me actually wonder if it might have been the streaming services. Because if it was, that's a good move for them on the negotiation side to get tact to get a better deal from Walmart. Disney seems like the match made in heaven, but Disney just released their subscriber numbers. They don't need Walmart. And if it's going to be Disney, Walmart's going to pay through the tooth, through the nose for this. So, I don't like that this is where they're focusing, I think, net- net as I talk through this.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. I think you have to have an exclusive deal too with Disney. You have to say Disney, you cannot offer your subscription as part of any... Because you think about, Disney's got their hands in every pot, T- Mobile, the phone company. Walmart customers, they have all these other options to get the same thing. It's still not enough of a push, unless-

Chris Walton: Which brings us back to the same point.

Anne Mezzenga: Right. Unless you can get an exclusive with Disney or something, which to your point, you're going to pay out the nose for.

Chris Walton: But I can get exclusive Disney by myself for$ 10 a month.

Anne Mezzenga: You can.

Chris Walton: I don't need to pay$ 90 for it, right?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, that's true.

Chris Walton: That's the thing. It just doesn't make sense. All right. Let's keep rolling.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay. Headline number three, Amazon has launched same day delivery services for a number of popular retailers, Chris. According to Retail Dive, Amazon is expanding its Prime benefits and its services to other retailers with same day delivery for customers of PacSun, GNC, Superdry and Diesel. And they plan to add Sur La Table and 100% PURE in the coming months. Prime members can now shop products from these retailers on the Amazon app and and they'll have their purchases delivered to their doorstep as soon as that same day all with a click of a button. Right now the service is only available and select zip codes in 10 Metro areas including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix, Seattle, as well as Scottsdale, Arizona-

Chris Walton: Scottsdale?

Anne Mezzenga: And Washington D. C. And will also expand in the coming months. It's limited to select items and is free to Prime members as long as they spend at least$ 25. And orders below$ 25 will only cost 2, 99.

Chris Walton: Yeah. Wow.

Anne Mezzenga: This is a big deal, Chris. I think at least.

Chris Walton: Yeah, it is. I think it's a big deal too. I mean, the fact that you've got retailers signing up for it makes it a big deal, I think, by default. I got to tell you though, it wouldn't be the move I would make.

Anne Mezzenga: Really?

Chris Walton: No, it wouldn't be. And I thought really... These topics this weekend, I probably thought more about my opinion on these than I have in a long time. Some of them are pretty straightforward week to week, but this one, I went back and forth on a lot of these.

Anne Mezzenga: Well, tell us about your back and forth. What happened in the mind of Chris Walton as you contemplated this story?

Chris Walton: No. I mean, it wouldn't be the move I'd make. Like for example, the first calls I would make would be to people like Shekar at American Eagle and his front of me network, seeing if you can be a part of that or The FRONTdoor Collective as another potential outlet for you doing the same thing. There's other ways to get at this versus basically signing up with Amazon. But I can see the appeal of doing it. This is where I was conflicted on this. You're going on Amazon's marketplace. It's kind of a cheat code in a way to good omnichannel website functionality because you don't have to invest in all the capabilities that show you how these same day services can be delivered for your customer on your own website, which as we know is very difficult to pull off. But the downside is that you can expect your products now when you're selling through that website to be aggressively priced against by third party sellers because now they're there and they know exactly how much to price them in competition against you. And so net- net I don't like where this is long term and there's other avenues to explore before you say, okay, we're going here.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. Okay. Well, number one, I don't know if I completely agree with that because first of all, this is a pretty compelling offer for your customers, especially for GNC, for PacSun.

Chris Walton: It is.

Anne Mezzenga: Basically you're saying you get free delivery same day. We're going to get this to you for free. If you look on the Amazon site that catalogs all these items, like anything over$ 25, if you're buying a pair of jeans, whatever, you're getting free delivery same day when you need it. And I think it's a major curve ball for DoorDash and Instacart and others who are trying to bring these retailers into their world so that they can get that subscription revenue. Because now people already have Amazon. What do I need DoorDash for now if these benefits that they're offering me of... It's not just food, now it's beauty, it's home, it's apparel, it's all these other things. Well, if Amazon's going to start doing this delivery, I don't need that DoorDash or Instacart subscription. So I think that your other point about you may have some competition from third party sellers, I don't know if I agree with that.

Chris Walton: Why?

Anne Mezzenga: Because I look at like this product-

Chris Walton: The brand can stand on its own relative to the competition on the site.

Anne Mezzenga: The stuff on the site is not coming from the GNC in your own neighborhood. It's coming from a third party who you maybe don't know as well. You don't have confidence. If this is the wrong product, if it's expired when I arrive, all these things, you can't bring into that store or go back and say like," This, I have a problem with it today. I need to fix it today." It becomes a larger problem. And I agree with you, I'd be a little skeptical as a retailer partnering with Amazon but I kind of think this is something that you just need to maybe experiment with.

Chris Walton: So you think you look at it as a test, an experiment, but you're still developing other capabilities in the background?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. I think it's something that you will see a lot of customer satisfaction from. I think people are going to really appreciate that they're getting free same day delivery because they can't get that anywhere else. You're paying$ 10 for that from Amazon or from DoorDash, sorry, or for Instacart or another company. And final point, not to be a dead horse. But now that Amazon is doing fulfillment from all your local mall stores, what's stopping them from turning the entire mall now into... taking the anchor store in that mall and turning them into a consolidation center or Amazon fulfillment center or doing whatever the hell they want in that space now that they're stopping at GNC, they're stopping at PacSun, all these places?

Chris Walton: Oh yeah, that's definitely a real long term play. If Amazon's style has any legs to stand on here as it gets going, there definitely got to be something they're thinking about. Yeah, I don't know. I just feel like once you put that needle in your arm of selling on Amazon, it's going to be really hard for people to take it out and it's going to ultimately potentially lead to your downfall too because then Amazon has your first party data. You're in a more competitive situation with third party sellers, which there's plenty of brands out there that would tell you they hate the third party sellers selling right side them. Was it the lollipop conversation that was in the news recently too? So I don't know. I just wouldn't be going down this road right now. I don't think the situation is that dire or the need for that type of delivery that quickly is that dire, in a peril-

Anne Mezzenga: I think that's better question. I think that's a better question.

Chris Walton: You need to link up with Amazon for this.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, I agree.

Chris Walton: Or Sur La Table. Why do I need my cookware today?

Anne Mezzenga: Well, maybe a gift.

Chris Walton: I deliver a gift. I don't know. I don't-

Anne Mezzenga: No, like I'm going to a party today and I want to order a gift from Sur La Table and then you want to bring it to a party that night. I can see it.

Chris Walton: Yeah. I don't think there's that many cookware emergencies. But anyway. All right. Let's keep rolling. Walmart is launching mini experiences for travel according to Axios, which is I think the first Axios mention in the history of this show.

Anne Mezzenga: I don't know.

Chris Walton: I don't know either, but it was fascinating for me to think about it. Walmart is embarking on a mini retail journey with health and wellness hospitality company, Getaway, to add small general stores at select travel outposts across the country. Walmart said that it will open the first general store by Walmart in August at Getaway Hill Country in Wimberley, Texas located near Austin and San Antonio. Getaway for those unfamiliar is a network of modern cabin retreats and says it will have 28" outposts" by the end of the year. The stores are approximately 75 square feet. Holy crap that's small. And after the first store in Texas opens, there are plans to open four more general store locations through the end of the year. Those planned locations include Getaway, Matching, Moodus in Moodus, Connecticut. I hope I said that right. Getaway Big Bear in Running Springs, California. Getaway Western Catskills in Roscoe, New York and Getaway Ozark Highlands in Osceola, Missouri, Missoura. Anne?

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: You won me over to include this story this week. When you first talked to me about it I was like, No way. We're talking about this?" But enlighten our audience with your thoughts because I thought you brought up some really, really interesting points here.

Anne Mezzenga: Well, I mostly have questions about this. There's a lot of questions that came to mind here because after reading this story, I feel like this is great for Getaway and Walmart. I'm like," Why? What are you doing here? Why are you focusing resources on this partnership?" I'm all for partnerships for big retailers and thinking about how to get down to the local level, but this really leaves me mystified.

Chris Walton: Wait. Didn't Walmart just lay off people too?

Anne Mezzenga: Yes, 200 people.

Chris Walton: Yeah. And they're focusing on... Yeah. Right, that's a great point.

Anne Mezzenga: So the biggest question for me is, Walmart, you have Amazon coming in. They already have 40 fresh stores right now in the US. They're breathing down your neck. They're all offering just walkout technology and you are not even experimenting with a small format cashier less store of your own. If I'm Walmart I should be thinking about what kind of efforts I can focus on creating my own small format stores. How can I get Walmart into more places and how can I leverage technology to make those experiences hyper convenient and then figure out how to roll those out to my stores to go against Amazon and the impending doom that I feel like they're going to be facing. And then second, what's the pricing strategy here? Like you're, you're now talking about a camp store, a tiny general store that's 75 square feet. Is there any brand love for Walmart in these places that's going to justify putting the Walmart name on that? Is it going to be low price? Is it going to fulfill the Walmart promise of-

Chris Walton: In 75 square feet?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, exactly. I mean, a camp store. They upcharge everything, smores to ponchos.

Chris Walton: Right, you got to get the product there.

Anne Mezzenga: You got to have the product there. So is it going to fulfill the Walmart promise in here? I don't know. I just have so many questions, especially the selection in these areas. Walmart, you could build a small format store of your own in these same places to still serve that audience but then you could be redefining what kind of categories you sell there and using technology to modify the store based on what you are finding people need in that area. I just wouldn't have done it this way. I don't understand, Chris.

Chris Walton: Okay. So net- net you don't like this.

Anne Mezzenga: I just don't understand.

Chris Walton: But you also don't like it, right? It goes beyond.-

Anne Mezzenga: I'm not a fan. If I was at Walmart I would not be putting resources towards this product.

Chris Walton: So would you tell Doug McMillon to kill it?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. Well, I would say Doug, let's look at the budget for this and I think I would recreate a strategy here.

Chris Walton: So you just laid off, I think, it was like 150, 200 people and you would be like, why are you keeping people on this project and laying off other people?

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: A hundred percent you would, yes. A hundred percent you would. And everyone listening should know that and realize that. And everyone at Walmart, I feel for you, especially if you're laid off because they're focusing on this. It's total BS. It is absolute BS. And I'm so glad you brought this story up to me and put it the way you did because it is actually downright insane. It is downright insane. Your point about 40 Amazon Fresh Stores using just walkout technology really brought it home to me. It's a pure waste of time. And by the way, don't most of these markets already have Walmarts too?

Anne Mezzenga: Well, that's an excellent point.

Chris Walton: When I go up north to travel outposts in Minnesota, that's when I shop at Walmart because that's how Walmart grew to be what it is today. So I don't get this.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, you don't have the convenience, I guess, of being able to walk up the trail and go to the camp store. But I mean, I think your point is exactly right. If you need some of this stuff, odds are, especially with the limited selection of products, you're probably going to need to go to the Walmart that's in town or 20 miles away or whatever.

Chris Walton: Yeah. I have no idea because I don't know exactly where these are. But I have to ask that question as it scales nationally, right? There's probably a Walmart near San Antonio in Texas, I got to think. Doug, if you're listening, probably not. But if you are, kill this idea. Invest in computer vision in some real, tangible Walmart way enough said in our opinion.

Anne Mezzenga: All right. Let's go to the last headline, Chris. According to the information, 7- Eleven has reportedly acquired Skipcart, a white label delivery startup providing same day in on- demand delivery. Restaurant Dive is also reporting that no terms or conditions of the deal have been clarified and neither company will respond to a request for comment as of press time. But according to the report, Chris, the deal will allow 7- Eleven to compete directly with DoorDash, which 7- Eleven has partnered with since 2015 and also Gopuff.

Chris Walton: Yeah.

Anne Mezzenga: We had to include this one. What are your thoughts on it?

Chris Walton: Honestly, I think this is interesting. I think it's more of a defense against Gopuff than anything, than it is about the DoorDash things that are going out there in the media. Yeah, because the beauty of it to me is like 7- Eleven has what Gopuff and the other delivery guys don't, which is warehouses and those warehouses are called stores. So getting them to work against this potential threat is really important. Now, the crux of the issue to me though is, does crowdsourced delivery, which is what Skipcart specializes in, work in the instant delivery game or in the ultra fast delivery game? Gopuff would tell you it does not. But I think effectively the jury's still out on that because the game is so new. And when you bring in an element of 7- Eleven and all its stores and where they're located, that could change the game potentially. So I don't know. But time will tell. I think it's interesting to watch. I emailed the CEO yesterday, Ben Jones, about this-

Anne Mezzenga: Of Skipcart?

Chris Walton: Of Skipcart to see if he could give me any Intel. He couldn't. But if he's listening, hopefully at some point he'll give us some retort to our commentary here. But, Anne, this also happens to be, and for loyal OmniTalk listeners, they'll notice that we did not ask the A&M put you on the spot question yet.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay.

Chris Walton: And so this happens to be where I'm going to put you on the spot. So here's this week's question from an A&M.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay.

Chris Walton: 7- Eleven's acquisition of Skipcart is exciting. They're excited by it, Anne. Wow. But could potentially turn their current delivery partners, i. e DoorDash and Uber Eats into competitors. Once up and running, do you see 7- Eleven having a 100% self delivered model via Skipcart or more of an ecosystem approach that still includes its current partners? That's a really good question.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. This is an either or situation. Okay. I think that it's still important for 7- Eleven to maintain the relationships with these delivery partners until they get things up and running. And I think we saw something very similar happen with Target back before they acquired, Shipt. Like they were testing with Instacart. They were testing with other delivery providers and they made the decision once they acquired Shipt to pretty much go exclusively with Shipt from that point on. So I think that there's a potential that they do what A& M's talking about, that they go in this direction. But I think the important thing to think about right now is that 7- Eleven has to think about, look, this is a land grab right now. As you said, we have tons of stores. We already have all these locations. We need to think about where our customers are going to go first when they need convenience items and how do we create a platform that executes on that, that best supports them. The other thing you have to consider with 7- Eleven is that you have tons and tons of franchisees. And so we've seen 7- Eleven in the past build their own tech in house to do scan and go in stores because they have to be in control of how that gets communicated, how that experience remains consistent among thousands of these franchisees. And so I think that will we see 7- Eleven eventually go the way of, yes, they acquire this company, they take on their own delivery? I think so. And that's just because of kind of maintaining control and maintaining that consistency throughout. But I don't know if you agree with that or-

Chris Walton: Yeah, I think I agree with you a hundred percent. It's not a mutually exclusive question. I think you'll probably see them move more of their business away from the other providers over time. That just seems to make sense as a proportion. But I also think the other thing that's important too is it depends what you're using each of them for. The delivery game is so varied at this point. You've got ultrafast, you've got 30 minute, you got same day, you got next day, all that kind of stuff.

Anne Mezzenga: That's a good point.

Chris Walton: So to see the world as like this myopic, it's this or that, I think kind of misses the point of the discussion here. And so I would imagine that everyone's going to be feeling their way through this.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, I think you're right too, 7- Eleven's smart in how they do this. They're going to want to make sure, to my earlier point, that they can get their stuff to the customers exactly the way that they need to in each geography. And if that means still partnering with some of these third parties, I think they're still going to have to. Chris, we've done it. Are you ready to go to the lightning round?

Chris Walton: Yes, I am.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay. All right, Chris. Question number one, Amazon bought iRobot this week, the maker of the Roomba. You thought this was an important story and wanted to cover it because of the insight that Amazon might now be able to access about the size of your home, where you supposedly spend time based on how dirty your floors are, et cetera. What do you think that your Roomba would transmit to Amazon about you, Chris Walton?

Chris Walton: If Roomba had the capabilities to do anything that I'm ultimately dreaming of it, I think it would find out that Cheez- Its are very loved in my family by what's on the floor. I would get served up so many ads for Cheez- Its from Amazon until the cows come home and my life would be better, Anne. My life would absolutely be better because my Cheez- It habit across the Walton household would be funded at a much lower discounted rate.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, I don't know about that.

Chris Walton: Yeah, I think it's great. All right, Anne. Recent tweet highlighting that George Jetson was actually, believe it or not guys, George Jetson was born on July 31st, 2022. That tweet went viral. And my question to you is, what is the one Jetsonian perk you would like to see in your lifetime?

Anne Mezzenga: Oh, I want to pick two.

Chris Walton: Really?

Anne Mezzenga: Flying cars a hundred percent and 3D printed dinners. I would say 3D printed dinners first.

Chris Walton: Oh, a hundred percent. We're not down on flying cars. I don't want to fly a car. Do you know how many people would get hurt if I flew a car?

Anne Mezzenga: Yes. Well, hopefully they're self- flying cars and you don't have to be-

Chris Walton: Self- flying cars?

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: Okay.

Anne Mezzenga: I don't think we want you in charge of flying. Although they did still have traffic on the Jetsons.

Chris Walton: Yeah, I know.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay. So I'm going to go back to 3D printed dinners. I want to sit at my table and punch in something and dinner's ready in a snap.

Chris Walton: I can get on board with that.

Anne Mezzenga: All right, Chris, which of the following is the name of an actual dollar store in the UK, Chris, pound for Pound, Bring it on Pound or Pound Town?

Chris Walton: All those are hilarious by the way. And unfortunately I'm going to say that I actually know the answer to this. It's Pound Town. And pound town is the name of the UK dollar store.

Anne Mezzenga: All of our listeners in the UK, Phil Thorn, Oliver Banks, Sophie Slowly, how have you not told us about Pound Town in our chats?

Chris Walton: Yeah, next time I'm in London I'm going to Pound Town. I am definitely going to Pound Town. All right. Last question. Bed Bath& Beyond is discontinuing its recently introduced Wild Sage private label line. What other brand names do you think were left off or left on, I should say, the cutting room floor when whomever decided to go with Wild Sage?

Anne Mezzenga: Perhaps Mary Jane for Bed Bath& Beyond.

Chris Walton: Oh my God.

Anne Mezzenga: Or perhaps The Grass We Pass.

Chris Walton: The Grass We Pass. That's so great. Oh, I love that. All right. Well that wraps us up today. Thanks for sticking with us. Happy birthday today to Chris Hemsworth, Anna Gunn and the one man my mom would oogle verbally out loud during Saturday night's main event when I was a kid, Hulk Hogan. Yeah, my mom had a thing for Hulk Hogan.

Anne Mezzenga: She's a Hulk fan, huh?

Chris Walton: She was into him pretty big time. Yeah, I remember that. It was kind of weird. And remember, if you can only read or listen to one retail blog in the business, make it OmniTalk. Our Fast Five podcast is the quickest, fastest rundown of all the week's top news and our twice a weekly newsletter tells you the top five things you need to know each day and also features special content exclusive to us and just for you. And we try really hard to make it all fit within the preview pane of your inbox. You can sign up today at www. omnitalk. blog. Thanks as always for listening in. Please remember to like and leave us a review wherever you happen to listen to your podcast or on YouTube. Remember also to use your promo code rbot1950 to register for Grocery Shop. That's R- B- O- T 1950. And of course, as always, be careful out there.

Anne Mezzenga: The OmniTalk Fast Five is a Microsoft sponsored podcast. Microsoft cloud for retail connects your customers, your people and your data across the shopper journey, delivering personalized experiences and operational excellence. And is also brought to you an association with the A&M Consumer and Retail Group. The A& M consumer and Retail Group is a management consulting firm that tackles the most complex challenges and advances its clients, people and communities toward their maximum potential. CRG brings the experienced tools and operator like pragmatism to help retailers and consumer products companies be on the right side of disruption. And Takeoff. Takeoff is transforming grocery by empowering grocers to thrive online. The key is micro fulfillment, small robotic fulfillment centers that can be leveraged at a hyper local scale. Takeoff also offers a robust software suite so that grocers can seamlessly integrate the robotic solution into their existing businesses. To learn more, visit takeoff. com. And Sezzle. Sezzle is an innovative buy now, pay later solution that allows shoppers to split purchases into four interest free payments over six weeks. To learn more, visit sezzle. com.


In today’s Omni Talk Retail Fast Five Podcast, sponsored by Microsoft, the A&M Consumer and Retail GroupTakeoffSezzle, and Groceryshop, Chris Walton and Mezzenga:

  • Question whether Walmart partnering with a streaming service will do anything to boost Walmart+ subscriptions (short answer: no)
  • Blast Kohl’s for the hubris it is showing in its new self-pickup rollout
  • Debate the merits of mall-based retailers using Amazon to fulfill same-day orders
  • Call for an immediate halt to Walmart’s new “General Store” initiative out of respect for all the people at Walmart that were just laid off
  • And close with a look at 7-Eleven’s reported acquisition of Skipcart

There’s all that, plus Roomba Cheez-It AI, 3-D printed food, and something the Brits call, “Pound Town.”

To redeem our discount to Manifest, click here

Music by

Key takeaways:

  • [05:22] Kohl's new self-pickup option and how it works
  • [11:02] Walmart's streamy desires
  • [15:34] Amazon Same-Day
  • [21:52] Walmart launching "mini" experiences with Getaway
  • [27:18] 7-Eleven has acquired Skipcart to compete with DoorDash directly
  • [31:54] Lightning round