Walmart to expand online grocery delivery to 100 metro areas

Eloise Marshall
March 14, 2018

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.

It also complements Walmart's rollout of curbside grocery pickup, now available in 1,200 stores and coming to an additional 1,000 this year.

Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery service across the USA this year, the company announced Wednesday.

However, with both grocery pickup and delivery, Walmart is able to leverage its square footage to its advantage.

Walmart customers can place their orders online at Walmart.com/grocery or on the existing Walmart Grocery App.

It also comes at a time of intense competition within the grocery space and follows Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods past year.

"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", Tom Ward, the vice president of Walmart's digital operations, said in a statement. For now this includes Uber and Deliv, but the company tells us more will be added to that lineup soon.

Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods Market past year has raised the stakes in the highly competitive grocery delivery wars.

Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion a year ago, recently introduced two-hour grocery delivery from Whole Foods to its Prime members in four cities - Austin, Texas; Cincinnati; Dallas; and Virginia Beach, Va. - with further expansion expected.

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Amazon is not the only threat Walmart faces.

Even discount chain Aldi is exploring grocery delivery options.

The percent of the US covered by the service is even more important than the city count.

Walmart Grocery Delivery brings customers the convenience of shopping when and where they want for quality, fresh produce, meat, seafood and bakery items, along with pantry staples, consumables and seasonal general merchandise. That number will jump to over 2,200 by the end of 2018.

The grocery service tends to be more affordable than rivals, which is perhaps Walmart's key advantage in this space.

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.

But unlike with Prime Now, ordering groceries online from Walmart doesn't require a subscription of any kind - only a minimum order of $30. Despite the slowed growth, executives have reiterated their forecast for 40 percent growth during the fiscal year.

"We're going to gain customers who might not have access to a brick-and-mortar store", he said.

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