It’s been a few months since Walmart announced its new partnership with Google-owned drone delivery company Wing to begin operating out of one of its Supercenter locations in Frisco, Texas, and the company is set to add a second Dallas-area Supercenter location early next year.
In an effort to get the word out, Wing released a report in early December to remind consumers that the fledgling service can come in handy for the holidays, whether it’s buying a last-minute gift for a holiday party or getting a missing ingredient needed to complete a recipe.
Wing Chief Financial Officer Shannon Nash told Supermarket News in an interview that 43% of consumers said in a recent survey that last-minute grocery runs are the most common reason they make an unplanned trip to the store, and 74% are interested in finding ways to replace time-consuming trips with fast delivery.
She said that Wing deliveries typically take under 30 minutes, and have reached their destination in as fast as three minutes.
Nash said she’s found herself in situations where drone delivery would have bailed her out of a jam. “There's so many holiday parties going on, it's so busy, and just last weekend I got invited to this amazing brunch. It was a holiday party. You were supposed to bring a gift, and guess what I didn't do?” she said.
“On the way there, I panicked. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn't pick up the gift.’ So that took me an extra 30 minutes, and I was very late to the party. If I had drone delivery, I absolutely would have been able to get ready for the party and also get the gift delivered to my house.”
She said Wing has already made more than 350,000 in the U.S. and other countries like Australia, Finland, and Ireland, giving the company a variety of weather conditions and landscapes to perfect the service. The orders are now capable of carrying just under three pounds of goods and travel at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour, she said.
Walmart is the only U.S. grocer Wing is affiliated with at this point, but the company will soon be in a second location in metro Dallas, and they’re planning to scale from there, according to Nash. The company offers thousands of SKUs on its app, and the drones can travel as far as six miles from the store, which opens the service to 60,000 households in the area from that single location, Nash said.
She emphasized that drone delivery has a much lower carbon footprint than delivery vehicles, which resonates with consumers; about half of survey respondents cited in the study said they worry about their own personal impact on the environment.
Wing released the study to promote its potential for holiday shoppers, but in other markets, where Wing has been more active, there is a clear winner in terms of repeat customers, according to Nash, and that’s for delivery of cups of coffee.