Opinion Blog: Why go to Walmart when it can come to you?

May 20, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Mackenzie O’Hara
mohara@smu.edu

Everything seems to be available online these days, and mega-retailer Walmart is adding to the madness by allowing shoppers to purchase groceries via the World Wide Web.

The trial launched in California known as “Walmart To Go”, not only allows people to shop for their groceries online, but get them delivered to their house for a measly five dollar fee.

Walmart is known for its “everyday low prices” in all departments ranging from groceries to video games. Although this program gives consumers a great deal of convenience, allowing people to shop online might affect sales on items other than groceries.

According to Douglas McIntyre from DailyFinance, customers who go into the store for food are likely to peruse the aisles and buy a pair of shoes or use its pharmacy. Walmart may pick up a few new customers with its home-delivered groceries, he said, but risks losing its way of enticing people into buying things other than groceries.

However, the bigger question at hand is: When did going to the grocery store become too strenuous of an activity for people that they have to do it online?

The recent swell in online shopping is perplexing. While the convenience aspect of downloading a movie from home using Netflix is understandable, are Americans are too lazy to take a trip to the grocery store. And, how much is too much when it comes to being able to access goods online?

While Walmart isn’t the first online grocery site (Amazon, Peapod and Safeway already offer similar services) it should stick to selling groceries from an actual store.

A little social interaction in the market place is good for people. If people are continually given the ability to buy everything they want from behind a screen, there will no longer be a need for this form of contact.

Unfortunately the process of physically going to the store is being replaced by a few clicks of the mouse. This increase in technological dependence is something department stores, especially Walmart, should steer clear of.

If they don’t, the traditional act of shopping will be replaced with online browsing; and people will only need their computer to survive.