Walmart expands online grocery delivery coast-to-coast

Marco Green
March 14, 2018

Walmart (WMT) will offer home grocery delivery to 100 metro areas, or 40% of the USA population, by year-end to compete with Amazon.com (AMZN), Kroger (KR), Costco Wholesale (COST), Target (TGT) and others expanding similar services.

Walmart says it will continue to use of ride-hailing services like Uber to deliver the goods to shoppers' homes as it expands its service.

"We're going to try and accelerate this program as fast as we can", said Tom Ward, Walmart US' vice president of digital operations.

The percent of the US covered by the service is even more important than the city count.

Walmart Inc. plans to make its grocery-delivery service available to about 40 percent of US households by the end of the year, expanding a program that has become part of its strategy to compete for grocery sales with Amazon.com, Target Corp. and others. The company said no subscription is required. "We'll leverage our footprint where it makes the most sense to reach as many people with the services as we can". There has been plenty of activity from retailers like Walmart and others in the grocery delivery space to support it. Target announced earlier this year that it plans to offer same-day delivery of groceries from half of its 1,800 stores using Shipt, a delivery startup it recently acquired.

Walmart is going all-in on grocery delivery one month after Amazon announced it would start offering members of its Prime service free two-hour delivery from Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired a year ago in a $13.7 billion deal.

Walmart Grocery Delivery brings customers the convenience of shopping when and where they want for quality, fresh produce, meat, seafood and bakery items, along with pantry staples, consumables and seasonal general merchandise. Walmart said more delivery companies will be announced later.

Groceries are key to Walmart's success with about 56 percent of its USA revenue coming from grocery sales.

Walmart plans to use its team of personal shoppers to pull together orders in stores and will team up with crowdsourced delivery services including Uber to send groceries.

At the same time, Walmart is expanding its online shopping with a curbside pickup option available at 1,200 stores. The retailer employs more than 18,000 personal shoppers that power this program with thousands more being added this year.

The retailer also offers an Online Grocery Pickup service that allows customers to order their groceries online and pick them up in stores without ever getting out of their cars.

"We're going to gain customers who might not have access to a brick-and-mortar store", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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