Having just seen cases where legacy players have felt threatened
by more innovative startups that take advantage of more distributed "peer-production" rather than top-down centralized systems of old, it's interesting to see a counter example. Apparently, Wal-Mart is considering a plan in which it tries to get in-store shoppers to help deliver packages to online buyers
"I see a path to where this is crowd-sourced," Joel Anderson, chief executive of Walmart.com in the United States, said in a recent interview with Reuters.
Wal-Mart has millions of customers visiting its stores each week. Some of these shoppers could tell the retailer where they live and sign up to drop off packages for online customers who live on their route back home, Anderson explained.
Wal-Mart would offer a discount on the customers' shopping bill, effectively covering the cost of their gas in return for the delivery of packages, he added.
The company admits that it's just brainstorming the idea at this point, but it's always interesting to see big established companies recognizing that others have been disrupting parts of their core business, and rather than freak out about it, try to take the disruption even further. Of course, this might serve to disrupt other
legacy providers, such as UPS and FedEx
. Hopefully they won't freak out about it, but who wouldn't be surprised to start seeing stories raising moral panics about how "dangerous" this new plan will be since the drivers won't be wearing uniforms any more?