Home Depot and Walmart are using one huge advantage to go after Amazon

Walmart and Home Depot are trying to catch up to Amazon by using their vast network of stores to pack and ship online orders.

Walmart currently uses 80 of its 4,500 stores across the US to pack and ship online orders, Walmart spokesman Ravi Jariwala told Business Insider.

The retailer also has five large-scale distribution centres devoted solely to online orders and a network of about 100 smaller e-commerce facilities across the country. Amazon, by comparison, has 180 fulfillment centres in the US.

Like Walmart, Home Depot has also been using its stores to ship products to customers.

Home Depot says almost half of its online orders — about 42% — are picked up in its stores. That share is expected to grow with the recent rollout of what Home Depot calls BODFS, or buy online and deliver from store, according to Home Depot CEO Craig Menear.

BODFS allows customers to pick a much shorter delivery window and have purchases delivered from their local Home Depot store.

The program has rolled out in 700 of Home Depot’s 2,200 stores, and will be available at all stores by the end of the year, Menear said last week on an earnings call.

Retail industry experts and analysts have long encouraged brick-and-mortar retailers to better utilise their physical stores to compete with Amazon online.

Both Walmart and Home Depot have a long way to go before they catch up to Amazon in terms of online revenue, however.

Walmart’s online sales were $13.7 billion in 2015, compared to Amazon’s $107 billion. Home Depot doesn’t break out sales for e-commerce, but said online sales accounted for about 5.6% of its $26.5 billion in second-quarter sales.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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