Wall Mart, one of the largest retail chains in the world, is going to experiment with a new model of distribution that would shock most of us. How about distributing an online order to a customer via another customer of Wall Mart who happens to live in the same city or drive along the same route where the former lives? In return, the “distributing” customer would get a discount in his/her shopping bill and/or get an allowance on gas charges. Wall Mart thinks that this model, if can be put to work, would result in “cost savings” in distribution. This is the model in a nutshell.
Of course, it is not going to be easy. The prime challenge would be to develop a trusted network of “carrying” customers who would efficiently do the distribution job. Some incidents of theft and damage on transit are expected, resulting in dissatisfaction of customers at the expense of “cost savings”. Well, after a while, a system of ranking would evolve that would identify a pool of trusted customers who would efficiently deliver goods to online customers. In fact, if this sort of ranking were not to take place among buyers and sellers, eBay could not have existed today. In addition to a ranking system, a clear knowledge of legal consequences of every outcome of this system must be conveyed to all parties concerned. Otherwise, legal battles will surely doom this innovative experiment. Let us wait and see how this system would actually evolve in reality.