More than 40 percent of U.S. households will have access to grocery delivery from Walmart by the end of the year, the retailer has revealed.
Currently available in six markets, the Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer’s Online Grocery Delivery service will grow to serve 100-plus metropolitan areas nationwide by the end of 2018. Households will be able to purchase fresh produce, meat, seafood and bakery items, as well as pantry staples and general merchandise online at everyday low prices through Walmart.com/grocery or the company's mobile app.
Orders will be fulfilled through Walmart’s personal shoppers and crowd-sourced delivery services. Currently, the retailer employs more than 18,000 personal shoppers to power the program, with plans to add thousands more this year.
Groceries can be delivered as soon as the same day and cost $9.95, with a minimum order requirement of $30.
“Our commitment goes further than saving customers money,” said Tom Ward, VP, digital operations, Walmart U.S. “Ninety percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, and we serve more than 150 million customers a week, which gives us a unique opportunity to make every day a little easier for busy families. Today, we’re expanding this promise by helping even more customers save time and money without leaving their homes.”
In addition to delivery, Walmart offers pickup for online orders, allowing online shoppers to get their orders at their local store without even leaving their car. 1,200 stores now offer the click-and-collect service, with 1,000 more locations adding it this year.
As Amazon ramps up its grocery delivery operations – last month rolling out free two-hour grocery delivery from Whole Foods stores to Amazon Prime members – grocers are scrambling to expand their delivery capabilities. This week alone, Kroger added 25 markets to its partnership with Instacart, BJ’s Wholesale Club introduced delivery in all markets it serves, and southern grocer Rouses added the option at most of its stores.
Nearly two in three Americans show at least some interest in home delivery, a recent study conducted by digital solutions provider Mercatus reveals, and this desire for delivery is "fueling the fight for the last mile across grocery retail," according to Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Toronto-based Mercatus.
“When considering such solutions, grocery retailers need to consider the entire fulfillment spectrum, including in-store and curbside,” Perrier said. “They equally need to make sure that they are not inadvertently co-opting their brand into the hands of another party and losing sight of the most critical part of the customer journey.”