Walmart's online same-day grocery ready for prime time

Walmart's online same-day grocery ready for prime time

Walmart is making a major push into online grocery delivery.

The service, available today in six markets, will grow to serve more than 100 metro areas across the country.

Tom Ward, vice president of Walmart's digital operations, says the retail giant is powering the expansion of its same-day delivery service using its online grocery pickup program. Walmart plans to use about 800 stores to operate the service. Those stores will be the first to introduce the program, Tom Ward, the vice president of Walmart's digital operations in the USA, said on a call with members of the media.

Walmart began delivering groceries through a pilot program in Phoenix, Denver and San Jose, Calif., two years ago, then expanded the experiment to include Tampa, Fla., Orlando, Fla., and Dallas last year.

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Uber will continue to be one of the delivery providers, but Ward indicated Walmart will work with other companies as well. Walmart may also be able to use the new service as a way to give its online sales a shot in the arm, after a holiday quarter that disappointed Wall Street due to slowing online sales growth. 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.

Prime customers can shop thousands of items across fresh and organic produce, bakery, dairy, meat and seafood, floral and everyday staples from Whole Foods Market available for free two-hour delivery. Target acquired Shipt, an Instacart rival. Select alcohol is also available for delivery to customers.

That means both Amazon and Walmart have a lot of potential business they could move online in future years - if consumer behaviors eventually change. It's now using 18,000 personal shoppers. No subscription is required. Prime members receive two-hour delivery for free and ultra-fast delivery within one hour for $7.99 on orders of $35 or more.

"Walmart must expand its delivery capabilities if it is to remain a contender against Amazon and lead the pack against all the rest", Spieckerman said.

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