Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

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

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

Walmart today announced plans to expand its popular Online Grocery Delivery option to more than 40 percent of USA households by the end of the year. Instacart serves Walmart, Amazon, Costco and more.

After testing out grocery delivery over the past two years in six USA markets, the largest retailer in the world said Wednesday it will bring the service to more than 100 metro areas in the United States over the coming months. 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. Its Jet.com unit will offer same-day delivery in New York City.

Walmart's grocery delivery business will be supported by a number of partners, including Uber, the company said on Wednesday.

Game On. Walmart (NYSE: WMT) will deliver groceries in 100 cites as a challenge to Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and its Whole Foods operation.

And Target, through its acquisition of grocery delivery startup Shipt a year ago, is expanding same-day delivery of such items as groceries and electronics to almost every major market by the holiday shopping season.

Ward disagreed that Walmart's move was related to Amazon, saying: "This is our response to honestly what our customers have been looking for". Amazon also has spent over a decade trying to build up its AmazonFresh grocery delivery service, but so far seen limited success. No subscription is required. He also said Tuesday that the company now employs more than 18,000 personal shoppers with additional hires planned as both grocery pickup and delivery services are rolled out to a larger audience this year.

For shoppers who are new to the program when it rolls out later this year, Walmart is offering $10 off a first order of $50 or more, and free delivery if a basket also meets that threshold. 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 will use its personal shoppers to collect orders in stores and continue to work with ride-hailing services like Uber for deliveries, which will carry a $9.95 fee and require a minimum order of $30. Walmart said more delivery companies will be announced later.

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