Walmart is upping its efforts to fight back against growing competition from Amazon by trialling an online grocery delivery service using start-ups Uber, Lyft and Deliv.
The US giant said it wanted to experiment with new, innovative ways around last-mile grocery delivery, with a trial of Uber and Lyft (a private transport service similar to Uber) set to kick off in Denver and one other – as yet unidentified – market within the next two weeks. A trial with Deliv – a same-day delivery service – for Sam’s Club has been running in Miami since March, which Walmart said had proved very popular with customers so far.
Explaining the upcoming Uber and Lyft pilots on the company’s blog, Michael Bender, Walmart EVP and chief global operating officer for e-commerce, wrote: “A customer in one of the test locations places their grocery order online and selects a delivery window. Our personal shoppers, highly-trained Walmart associates, will carefully select and prepare their order. Then, our team may request a driver from one of these services to come to the store, pick up the customer’s order, and take it directly to the customer’s location. It’s all seamless to the customer. They pay us our normal $7-10 delivery charge online, and make no payment to the driver.”
Bender added: “We’re thrilled about the possibility of delivering new convenient options to our customers, and about working with some transformative companies in this test. We’ll start small and let our customers guide us, but testing new things like last-mile delivery allows us to better evaluate the various ways we can best serve our customers how, when and where they need us.”
Uber has been pushing further into food delivery for some time and already offers a dedicated food delivery service, called Uber Eats, in the US. Reports suggest that service is now due to come to the UK too, where it would go head to head against the likes of Deliveroo.
Drones just six to nine months away
The announcement of the pilots comes a day after Walmart said it was just six to nine months away from deploying drones in its warehouses in the US. Walmart wants to use the drones to check on stock levels as well as using them for online grocery picking and delivery.