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Walmart Ups the Ante on Drone Delivery

Expanded partnership with DroneUp aims to deliver 1M+ packages per year
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Walmart Ups the Ante on Drone Delivery
Walmart's drone delivery service will reach 4 million households by the end of 2022.

Walmart is taking to the skies in a big way with the expansion of its DroneUp delivery network to 34 sites by the end of the year. The delivery service is poised to reach 4 million U.S. households across six states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

For a delivery fee of $3.99, customers in the DroneUp service area can order items totaling up to 10 pounds between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Deliveries will be made in as little as 30 minutes. 

“After completing hundreds of deliveries within a matter of months across our existing DroneUp hubs, we’ve seen firsthand how drones can offer customers a practical solution for getting certain items, fast,” wrote David Guggina, SVP of innovation and automation, in a company blog post. “More importantly, we’ve seen a positive response from our customers that have used the service.

“In fact, while we initially thought customers would use the service for emergency items, we’re finding they use it for its sheer convenience, like a quick fix for a weeknight meal,” Guggina continued. “Case in point: The top-selling item at one of our current hubs is Hamburger Helper.”

Each delivery hub will have a team of certified pilots, operating within FAA guidelines, that manage flight operations for deliveries. When an order is placed, the items are picked from the store and loaded into the drone, then delivered directly to their yard using a cable that gently lowers the package.

“The customer has always been at the center of our focus at Walmart, and we look for partners that are as laser-focused on customer experience as we are,” Guggina wrote. “DroneUp has been a reliable partner as we’ve tested this solution and their capabilities will enable our business to scale with speed while maintaining a high caliber of safety and quality.”

Virginia-based DroneUp will also offer local businesses and municipalities aerial drone solutions for insurance, emergency response, real estate and more as it scales operations with the retailer. According to Walmart, the additional flights will help offset the cost of delivery and also provide necessary data for drone operations in general.

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 company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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