Walmart expanding same-day grocery deliveries

Jon Howard
March 15, 2018

Walmart threw the latest punch in the most recent round of block-and-counter between the giants, announcing today its plans to expand its online grocery delivery option to more than 40 percent of USA households by the end of the year.

That's a major expansion from the six it now delivers in and will see Walmart home delivery groceries available to over 40% of United States households. Now that stands at around 18,000, though the retailer says it expects to add "thousands more" this year. The online retailer has already started offering free, two-hour deliveries of Whole Foods groceries in a handful of markets to its Prime customers.

Shoppers pay a flat fee of $9.95 but are required to spend at least $30 per order. Walmart says products ordered through the service, which include its full grocery assortment, will be the same price as in the store. Now available at 1,200 Walmart locations, this service lets customers order groceries online and pick them up from a store without getting out of their cars. "We're serving our customers in ways that no one else can".

Ward noted that Walmart is learning from its delivery services in such countries as China and the United Kingdom.

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Once an order is placed, a specially-trained member of Walmart staff picks the items from the regular Walmart shelves, rather than an unseen warehouse. The service is now available in six U.S. metro markets. Apart from bolstering delivery services, the company has been taking several other e-commerce initiatives, including buyouts, alliances and improved payment systems to strengthen online operations. Both are indications that the option to shop for groceries online and have them delivered is now a must-have amid the ongoing footrace with Amazon (AMZN).

In Walmart's case, the orders will be picked by in-store employees, who will receive three weeks of additional training.

The move comes amid a big push by Amazon for same-day grocery delivery. Before committing to a national expansion, Walmart had to first figure out how to cut shipping costs and make grocery delivery a more efficient and scalable part of its business.

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