Will crowdsourced service help Walmart nail the last mile of grocery deliveries?
Walmart, like many of its rivals, continues to search for ways to solve the various challenges around last-mile deliveries. Its latest attempt — Spark Delivery — involves using a crowdsourced driver service to deliver groceries to customers.
The new system operates with independent drivers who sign up to make deliveries during windows of time that work best with their schedules. The drivers are managed by Delivery Drivers, Inc., a firm that specializes in last mile contractor management. Drivers have access to order details, navigation assistance and other features to effectively and efficiently carry out their tasks. Walmart uses its own staff of personal shoppers to pull together orders for drivers to pick up and deliver.
Walmart is currently carrying out the Spark Delivery pilot in Nashville and New Orleans with plans to expand the test to more metropolitan markets before the end of the change. From the customer’s vantage point, nothing should appear to change. Walmart offers grocery delivery with a $9.95 delivery fee on all orders with a $30 minimum.
The new test is part of Walmart’s goal, announced in March, to offer grocery delivery to more than 40 percent of U.S. households by the end of this year. It offers online ordering with in-store pickup at more than 1,800 locations with a goal of expanding to 2,100.
“Our customers love Grocery Pickup and Delivery — it offers convenience paired with the everyday low prices customers expect from us,” said Tom Ward, vice president, digital operations, Walmart U.S., in a statement. “We’re always looking for the best ways to serve them, so we’re exploring a number of different options for getting groceries from our stores to the customer’s front door — some in-house, some third-party.”
The retailer comes off its most recent quarter in which grocery and online sales played significant roles in driving a 4.5 percent increase in Walmart’s comp numbers, the highest quarterly increase for the chain in more than 10 years. The only blip in an otherwise strong quarter was a 17-basis-point decline in gross profit.
- Walmart Tests new Last-Mile Grocery Delivery Service – Walmart
- Walmart posts strongest U.S. comps in more than a decade – RetailWire
- Walmart still trying to figure out home delivery – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will the use of third-party services as in the Spark Delivery test be the most effective and efficient way for Walmart to deliver online grocery orders? How does Walmart compare to its rivals in terms of figuring out how to make home delivery work for its customers and its own bottom line?