Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Walmart steps up Amazon battle with nationwide grocery delivery

Walmart steps up Amazon battle with nationwide grocery delivery

Now available in six markets, the company will expand the service to over 100 metro areas across the U.S. this year.

That's a major expansion from the six it now delivers in and will see Walmart home delivery groceries available to over 40% of United States households.

While they debut a range of online pick-up and grocery delivery platforms, the incumbent grocers have been trying to woo more customers back through their doors by improving in-store ambience with hot takeaway meals, targeted customer offerings and cooking classes.

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Walmart said it has a three-week training program for its store pickers, and has already trained 18,000 employees for this task, with "thousands more" to be added this year.

Interestingly, Amazon was the pioneer in online grocery delivery, launching its AmazonFresh service in Seattle more eleven years ago. It also complements Walmart's rollout of curbside grocery pickup, now available in 1,200 stores and coming to an additional 1,000 this year. "We're serving our customers in ways that no one else can". Due to its proximity to customers, Walmart could use its physical locations as a distribution hub to leverage its supply chain and provide faster deliveries.

Just over a week later, Walmart announced membership changes to its bulk retailer Sam's Club, which also included free shipping on many items.

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Walmart Grocery Delivery brings customers the convenience of shopping when and where they want for quality, fresh produce, meat, seafood and bakery items, along with pantry staples, consumables and seasonal general merchandise.

Walmart is charging a flat fee of $9.95 for delivery. Those stores will be the first to introduce the program, Tom Ward, the vice president of Walmart's digital operations in the US, said on a call with members of the media. "We are extremely happy with the results that we have had out of the USA", he added, noting the company does not have a specific timeline in mind for the rollout.

"For WMT, given how early it is, we think it can lead the growth, and attain [online grocery] share well above their online market share today in other categories", Sigman said.

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