In Latest Amazon Jab, Walmart Expands Same-Day Grocery Delivery


The world's largest retailer said Wednesday that it's expanding grocery delivery to more than 100 metro areas across the country by the end of this year. The company uses crowdsourced delivery services, such as Uber, to deliver orders to customers. A minimum purchase of $30 is compulsory and customers will pay a $9.95 as fee.

And Target, through its acquisition of grocery delivery startup Shipt a year ago, is expanding same-day delivery of such items as groceries and electronics to almost every major market by the holiday shopping season.

Tom Ward, Walmart's VP of digital operations, told reporters in a conference call that "workers are moving into that position on a weekly basis, as more Walmart stores are outfitted to fulfill orders via its website", Thomas and Hirsch report.

Walmart now offers store pickup at more than 1,200 stores and plans to add an additional 1,000 locations this year. It also allows Walmart to compete with Amazon's two-hour Prime Now service for shoppers of its loyalty program. Walmart will use its own personal shoppers to pack orders placed online and a "crowd-sourced delivery service" to transport these same groceries to customer doorsteps. Since Amazon's Whole Foods acquisition, the ecommerce giant has made an aggressive play for the grocery market - Walmart's most profitable category.

Currently, it offers online ordering and delivery in six markets in the US.

Walmart was previously only testing out the service in six cities.

Most major grocers have quickly fortified their e-commerce positioning to deal with Amazon and its recently acquired Whole Foods chain. That service, available at 1,200 stores, will expand to 1,000 more stores later this year. Walmart also announced a plan earlier this month to bring meal kits to thousands of its stores. At checkout, they select the window when they want to pick up their groceries curbside, or have them delivered - sometimes as soon as same-day.

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

The retailer also plans to offer a same-day delivery service in NY.

Walmart will hope its expanded delivery service inspires bigger, more frequent orders and brings in new customers.

Online sales comprise just a fraction of the $800 billion USA grocery market - a smaller share than in countries like the United Kingdom or South Korea - but consumer acceptance is growing.

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