By MARK KARLIN, AP Retail industry analysts say they expect Wal-mart to make major changes in its business model in the next few years, with a focus on online ordering.
The company is trying to diversify from traditional retail, with an emphasis on online sales, which will likely be the biggest challenge to traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.
Wal-marts customers are also likely to buy more groceries online, and the company has built a large grocery network with its own brands, which could give it an advantage over traditional brick and mortar retailers.
But Wal-man will also look to expand its food distribution services, especially its grocery network.
The supermarket chain has struggled to meet customer demand for its grocery items, and is in a market where demand for food is shifting away from traditional stores.
The rise of online grocery shopping has made it easier for consumers to get food online, said Peter D’Antonio, senior analyst for the Food Marketing Research Group at Bernstein Research.
Walmarts stock has risen more than 20 percent in 2017 as consumers have moved to buy groceries online from places like Amazon and Kroger, where prices are often lower than at traditional stores, said D’Alessandro.
Walmart is working on a program that would allow people to order online at a store, where it would be delivered directly to the customer, without having to leave a store.
But the company hasn’t yet announced how it will manage such a service, and whether it would require a store to be in the same ZIP code as the customer’s home.
In addition, Wal-mans food distribution service would likely need to be managed by a third-party company.
D’Angelo said he expects Wal-Marts to begin offering online ordering in 2018.
It could take several years before the company’s service could be widely available to customers.
Walmerts food distribution will also have to be tailored to the store environment.
That includes whether it can serve more than a few dozen customers per store, said Steve Haney, a professor of food and beverage industry economics at the University of Illinois.
Walmart has tried to expand food service options for its customers, including the ability to order meals at home.
The chain started offering meal delivery service in some of its stores in late 2017, but it hasn’t had a significant impact on customer orders.
The service will likely not be offered in stores until 2019, said Haney.
That’s because it is unlikely that customers will be ordering food directly from the store at the same time that they are ordering from online orders.
Walman is also working on an online shopping service that will allow customers to buy food online at grocery stores, and it will be launched in 2019, D’Angeli said.
That service could also offer delivery services that allow customers pick up groceries from stores, but Walmans food delivery service could not be rolled out in that time frame.
But it could be rolled into the next version of the store, and possibly even into some stores within the same shopping mall, Haney said.
The new Wal-Man could also bring new types of services to its customers.
One of the biggest challenges in the grocery business has been finding customers willing to pay higher prices for groceries, said Daniel J. Kelleher, a senior analyst with Forrester Research.
This could be one way to improve the food distribution business, said Kellehers senior analyst Michael C. Murphy.
Walmarys food service could give Wal-mas customers more choices and flexibility when it comes to choosing the type of food they want, he said.
“In some ways, Walmart is kind of trying to do the opposite of what Kroger did in the past,” said Kleeher.
Walmans new online grocery service could offer customers more flexibility with their purchases.
But some experts worry that online ordering will not work well with the Wal-marys grocery delivery service.
Many customers will likely prefer the convenience of ordering online, even if it costs a little more, said Michael D. Tarr, a managing director of the consulting firm Darden Strategy Group.
But others worry that the new Walmarks online ordering service could hurt the brand by making it harder for customers to differentiate products.
Walmen’s Food Services is an online grocery delivery company that provides groceries from Kroger and other retailers to customers who want to order at home or in their car.
Its food service is available through Amazon.com, Kroger.com and Whole Foods Market.
Walmers Food Services says its services deliver groceries from grocery stores to stores within a 24-hour period, including Kroger’s and Whole Market’s stores, as well as to individual consumers at locations in other U.S. cities.