Walmart to expand grocery delivery business to 800 stores by year's end

Randall Padilla
March 15, 2018

Walmart's expansion of its same-day, online grocery to serve more than 100 cities across the the end of the year is an attempt to capture the magic of the e-commerce giant Amazon, according to Walmart's former CEO. The service is now available in six markets; by the end of 2018 it will be available in more than 100 metro areas across the country. "We're serving our customers in ways that no one else can". To that, Walmart is using 18,000 personal shoppers right now to pick groceries for customers ordering online, and that program will expand this year, the company said.

Walmart has been making efforts to update its food options as competitors like Amazon - which now owns organic grocer Whole Foods - threaten to lure away customers by offering them convenient delivery.

In Walmart's case, the orders will be picked by in-store employees, who will receive three weeks of additional training.

But as a new research brief from CB Insights points out, all these endeavors could benefit from Walmart's getting involved in the other end of its grocery store supply chain-that is, farming the crops that eventually wind up on its store shelves. It also comes at a time of intense competition within the grocery space and follows Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods a year ago.

Ward noted that Walmart is learning from its delivery services in such countries as China and the United Kingdom. Each delivery order must reach Walmart's $30 minimum, and customers pay a $9.95-per-order fee as well.

Walmart Grocery Delivery includes fresh produce, meat, seafood and bakery items, along with pantry staples, consumables and seasonal general merchandise.

"Our commitment goes further than saving customers money", said Tom Ward, VP of digital operations at Walmart U.S., in a statement.

The online retail giant bought Whole Foods past year for $13.7 billion.

Additionally, the service that allows customers to order groceries online and have them ready to be picked up at the store will be expanded to 2,200 stores this year, up from 1,200 now. "We are extremely happy with the results that we have had out of the USA", he added, noting the company does not have a specific timeline in mind for the rollout.

In February Amazon unveiled free two-hour delivery of Whole Foods purchases for Prime members in four markets - Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach. The same-day service is now available at more than 70 locations.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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