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Major multinational retailer to pilot delivery tests with on-demand tech services in a few markets
Gotta appease those lazy, impatient millennials.
Walmart today announced that it is partnering with three on-demand technology providers—Uber, Lyft, and Deliv—in order to test “last-mile” grocery delivery in a few markets.
The move is just one aspect of Walmart’s attempt to defend itself against the growing threat of Amazon, which has only continued to increase its market share through an unrivalled inventory and its quick-delivery Prime service. And it has done so all without having to bother with the trouble and expense of brick-and-mortar stores.
Amazon has helped fuel changing customer expectations with Prime: more and more people tend to expect that a retailer can deliver in two days, if not in 24 hours.
In Denver and “one other market,” Walmart will be piloting a program where its grocery customers place their order online and then select a delivery window. After Walmart associates prepare the order, an Uber or Lyft driver will pick it up and deliver to the customer. For customers, the delivery charge will range from $7 to $10.
Additionally, Walmart revealed that it has been working with Deliv (a same-day delivery provider whose bread and butter is working with retailers in this way) since March for a pilot at the Sam’s Club 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,” wrote Michael Bender, EVP and COO of Walmart Global eCommerce, in a blog post. “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.”
Again, while Walmart’s tests fit exactly with what Deliv’s business model, it’s not so obvious for Uber and Lyft.
Uber, which has expanded its ridesharing service across the globe and just raised $3.5 billion from the Saudi Arabian government, has previously ventured into food delivery with UberEATS. That service, however, is more akin to Postmates and DoorDash in that it revolves around delivering prepared meals from local restaurants.
In March, Uber doubled down on the service by giving UberEATS its own standalone app for iOS and Android, instead of having it live in the flagship app for ridesharing. The service also expanded to a host of new U.S. cities.
Additionally, Uber has a service called UberRUSH that is more broadly focused on helping businesses with deliveries. When it comes to groceries, the company has worked with supermarket chain Harris Teeter since last October.
Lyft, on the other hand, has never done either grocery delivery or food delivery. It’s a big step for the company to test the waters (as much as Walmart is doing) and it represents a willingness to raise the stakes in its competition with Uber.
Of course, it’s an uneven competition: after its latest funding round, Uber has now raised over $11 billion while Lyft has raised $2 billion. Deliv has raised just over $40 million.
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