Walmart Launches Late-Night Delivery. Why Grocers Should Take Heed.

On its path to e-comm success, the retail giant is edging out traditional supermarkets
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
walmart delivery
Walmart is building a suite of pickup and delivery options that prioritize convenience.

Further personalizing its online shopping service, Walmart has expanded online pickup and delivery options at more than 4,000 stores nationwide. Most notably, the retail giant is now offering late-night delivery until 10 p.m., on orders placed by 9:30 p.m.

“We’re keeping our engines running a little later so those last-minute needs don’t keep you up at night,” wrote Tom Ward, EVP and chief e-commerce officer at Walmart U.S., in a blog post. “Whether it’s your kids’ favorite brand of gummy vitamins they grab on their way to the bus, or a broken hairdryer threatening to ruin the rest of the evening (and the next morning),” Walmart’s late-night express delivery aims to get those last-minute needs to consumers’ doorsteps.  

[Read more: “How Walmart is Making Grocery Delivery More Enticing”]

Ward emphasized that this is about more than just staying up late – it's about building a suite of pickup and delivery options that prioritize convenience, speed and putting the customer at the very center.

These options include a Live Shopper feature, which enables real-time text communication with a personal shopper, allowing customers to discuss substitutions or add items last minute.

On-Demand Delivery slots are also available for same-day delivery, so customers can choose a time that best suits their schedule. “Keeping convenience at the forefront, same-day delivery is for people who don’t need something right now but want it later that day or even early the next,” said Ward.

When consumers need something in a hurry, they can select Express Delivery. “Imagine realizing you're down to the last few diapers, or your child's game controller decides to give up during the final battle,” said Ward. “Walmart can save the day with delivery as soon as 30 minutes and up to 90 minutes. Let’s say you are on a trip and forgot your phone charger. Simply change your location, make your delivery selection and with a few simple swipes, a charger is on the way."

And for the ultimate “white glove experience,” Walmart+ members have the option to add InHome to their membership. This service allows customers to have items delivered straight to their fridge or placed on their countertop. InHome even offers pickup for customer returns, taking the item straight back to the store for them. Walmart InHome is currently available in 46 markets including Miami, Dallas and San Francisco, representing coverage for 35 million households. Ward pointed out that the InHome offering has gained popularity among both seniors and busy families.  

As it grows its around-the-clock convenience, Walmart is edging out traditional grocers.  According to a new Brick Meets Click report, the mass retailer captured nearly 36% of all e-grocery sales in the United States during the second quarter of 2023. Moreover, Walmart’s share was 5% higher compared to last year. A strong performance in pickup helped drive this year’s gains and secured Walmart’s strength in the digital channel.

As a result, other food retailers need to emphasize their own value equation to shoppers. “This means it’s vital for grocers to offer customers more ways to save money while also providing the experience that online shoppers expect, as cost considerations will weigh more heavily than convenience for cash-strapped households in the second half of this year,” said David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click.

Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company as one of its Retailers of the Century.  

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