The service, available today in six markets, will grow to serve more than 100 metro areas across the country.
Building off of the company's recent series of grocery updates-including a partnership with Instacart through its Sam's Club wing, the acquisition of Parcel, and the recent announcement of its Eden technology to help reduce food waste-Walmart is now becoming involved in ag tech, with an application for a series of six patents aimed at farm automation, according to The Spoon. No subscription is required. Ward said the home-delivery service has brought in new customers in the six cities where it's now offered, which include Dallas and San Jose, California. The delivery service has been tested in Dallas-Fort Worth since August with Walmart employees filling the orders and Uber drivers making the deliveries. "We'll leverage our footprint where it makes the most sense to reach as many people with the services as we can".
Walmart plans to use its team of personal shoppers to pull together orders in stores and will team up with crowdsourced delivery services including Uber to send groceries.
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Walmart's new service could also be a response to Amazon's $13.2 billion purchase a year ago of Whole Foods. Orders placed by 1 p.m. will be delivered the same day.
Carol Spieckerman, a retail consultant and president of Spieckerman Retail, said the grocery delivery expansion should give Walmart an opportunity to "forge relationships with new customers", especially those who value convenience but don't want to navigate the retailer's stores. 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. Walmart said more delivery companies will be announced later.
So far, Walmart offers curbside grocery pickup at 1,200 stores and plans to accelerate the rollout to 2,200 by year-end. Despite the slowed growth, executives have reiterated their forecast for 40 percent growth during the fiscal year. "We're serving our customers in ways that no one else can".