Walmart has announced plans to bring its online grocery delivery service to 100 cities and 800 Walmart stores by the end of the year. If all goes to plan, 40 percent of the US population will have the option to pay $9.95 and have their groceries picked and delivered to their front door in just a few months.
The move seems like an obvious retaliation to Amazon’s Whole Foods grocery delivery service. Since acquiring the premium supermarket chain, Amazon has worked quickly to roll out grocery delivery under the Amazon Prime umbrella. Only a handful of cities offer Whole Foods delivery right now, but the availability is set to explode in 2018. The stage for the grocery-delivery war is set: Now we just have to see if consumers are actually interested.
“Our commitment goes further than saving customers money,” said Tom Ward, vice president, Digital Operations, Walmart U.S. “Ninety percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, and we serve more than 150 million customers a week, which gives us a unique opportunity to make every day a little easier for busy families. Today, we’re expanding this promise by helping even more customers save time and money without leaving their homes.”
Once an order is placed, a specially-trained member of Walmart staff picks the items from the regular Walmart shelves, rather than an unseen warehouse. The company says its staff “must complete a three week training program learning how to select the freshest produce and the best cuts of meat for Online Grocery customers.”
In addition to the front-door delivery service, Walmart is also expanding its pick-and-collect service, which allows you to select items online and pick them up pre-bagged in stores. That service is currently available at 1,200 stores nationwide, with another 1,000 coming this year.