Will Walmart’s customers pay $10 more to get deliveries in two hours?
Walmart last week said it was rolling out Express Delivery for “more than 160,000 items” across groceries, general merchandise, electronics and toys categories within two hours for $10.
Similar to Walmart’s other delivery options, the order has to exceed $30. Walmart accelerated the rollout in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We know our customers’ lives have changed during this pandemic, and so has the way they shop,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer, Walmart, in a statement. “We also know when we come out of this, customers will be busier than ever, and sometimes that will call for needing supplies in a hurry.”
The service has been piloted in 100 stores since mid-April and will be available in nearly 2,000 in coming weeks. According to Techcrunch, deliveries on average arrived within 56 minutes during the pilot.
Walmart’s 74,000 personal shoppers plus specific hires for Express Delivery will pick orders, and existing third-party providers will handle delivery. The $10 fee comes on top of existing delivery charges that typically range between $7.95 to $9.95.
Walmart is introducing the service at a time when the surge in grocery delivery amid COVID-19 has led to delays and even scarcity of delivery time slots in hard-hit areas such as New York City. Food delivery services like Instacart are hiring hundreds of thousands of workers to meet the unprecedented demand.
Express Delivery, which was in development before the pandemic, is seen as an alternative to Amazon’s Prime Now, which launched in 2014 and offers two-hour delivery for Prime members in select U.S. cities. In 2018, Amazon added delivery from Whole Foods. Amazon offers free delivery on orders above $35, with a $5 delivery fee for those below that threshold.
Last June, Walmart introduced Delivery Unlimited, which charges $12.95 monthly or $98 annually for unlimited same-day grocery delivery. Delivery Unlimited customers would still pay the $10 fee for Express Delivery that covers more items. In February, reports arrived that Walmart was developing a new annual subscription plan, Walmart+, that would rebrand Delivery Unlimited and offer perks such as discounts on prescription medicines and fuel, as well as in-store Scan & Go.
- Walmart Introduces Express Delivery – Walmart
- Walmart launches two-hour delivery service for groceries, electronics, and more – The Verge
- Will a new subscription program be Walmart’s winning answer to Amazon Prime? – RetailWire
- Walmart expanding Express Delivery to 1,000 stores to meet demand amid coronavirus crisis – USA Today
- Walmart expands two-hour Express delivery to help during coronavirus – CNET
- Walmart Is Betting You’ll Ditch Amazon Prime for Its Expensive 2-Hour Delivery – Gizmodo
- Walmart is piloting a pricier 2-hour ‘Express’ grocery delivery service – TechCrunch
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Express Delivery offer much appeal to Walmart’s customers during and after the pandemic? How do you see it complementing Walmart’s other online options and matching up against Prime Now?