While Wal-Mart Stores is making heavy investments in developing internal capabilities for online grocery shopping, it's looking externally for help with the last mile.
The company on Friday said it would begin a test of ride-sharing services Lyft (in Denver) and Uber (in Phoenix) to execute home delivery of grocery orders within weeks. The company also said Friday it had been quietly testing a partnership with Deliv involving delivery of general merchandise and grocery for business members in Miami.
"We’re thrilled about the possibility of delivering new convenient options to our customers, and about working with some transformative companies in this test," Michael Bender, EVP and COO of Walmart.com, wrote in a blog post published Friday. "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."
While Walmart is rapidly growing online shopping for store pickup, it has moved deliberately in home delivery, offering the service only in Denver and San Jose currently.
Bender said grocery delivery customers in the test markets would shop online as they typically would and select a delivery window.
The order will be picked by Walmart shoppers who would 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," Bender noted. "They pay us our normal $7-10 delivery charge online, and make no payment to the driver. We’ll also let them know their order is being delivered by a driver from Uber or Lyft."
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