Walmart expands home delivery in fight with Amazon

Walmart expands home delivery in fight with Amazon

Walmart expands home delivery in fight with Amazon

Walmart also offers a pickup service to customers who order online. A year ago it purchased Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, giving it a much bigger network of brick-and-mortar grocery stores. Those deliveries will cost $9.95, with a $30 minimum.

In recent years, Walmart has expanded its curbside grocery pickup service whereby shoppers can order online and pick up their items from their auto in the store's parking lot.

The service, available today in six markets, has been a key focus for Walmart over the last two years as it's tinkered with the economics of delivery programs.

Walmart has been investing in online grocery for years, starting with limited tests of curbside pickup that later expanded across the U.S.

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

Now, however, Walmart has devised a slick new work-around, according to today's Wall Street Journal: New Yorkers may balk at Walmart being physically inside the five boroughs (even in Staten Island), but it's betting they can't say no to same-day delivery of low-priced groceries. "We know organics are important to our Online Grocery customers", said a spokesperson in an email. It can house online orders in big coolers in the back ahead of customers' arrival, and it can repurpose existing store staff to prep the online orders as they arrive.

Each will go through a three week training process, in part to address one of the lingering concerns that stops many from ordering groceries online.

A recent study conducted by the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen concluded that 70 percent of consumers will be grocery shopping online in as few as five to seven years. Ward said stores will continue to use Uber, but that the company will soon announce other crowd-sourcing partners.

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Walmart has been using Uber drivers during its trial to man its deliveries.

Online sales comprise just a fraction of the $800 billion US grocery market - a smaller share than in countries like the United Kingdom or South Korea - but consumer acceptance is growing. The retailer also recently took on meal kit delivery services, such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh. While only one in three shoppers now purchase groceries online for home delivery, about six in ten expect to use it more in the next five years, according to a survey of 1,100 people conducted by industry researcher Field Agent.

Delivery is becoming less of an option, and more of market demand. "Using our size and scale, we're bringing the best of Walmart to customers across the country".

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