Skip to main content

Walmart continues expansion of grocery pick-up service


Walmart has extended its grocery pick up service to eight additional markets and is alluding to the possibility of a more significant roll out in the months ahead.

The nation’s largest food retailer said its free online grocery pickup service is now being offered at select stores in a host of new markets, including, Atlanta, Nashville, Tucson, Colorado Springs, Charlotte and Fayetteville, NC., and Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah. Expansion of the convenient service is something customers continually ask for, according to Michael Bender, executive VP and COO of Walmart Global eCommerce.

“We’ve tested online grocery options – both pickup and delivery – in a handful of markets across the U.S., and each time we’ve added a new city, our customers begin using the service faster than they did in the previous one,” Bender said. “In the coming weeks, we’ll add stores in even more markets to our list of pickup locations.”

Walmart began offering the service several years ago with a test in San Jose, Calif., not far from its Global eCommerce headquarters. It was subsequently expanded to Denver, Phoenix, Huntsville, Ala., and the retailer’s hometown of Bentonville, Ark.

The most recent expansion of the pick up service comes two weeks prior to Walmart’s big annual fall investor conference in mid-October where the company can expect a lot of tough questions about its deteriorating sales performance and rising expenses which have caused shares to tumble to the low $60 range after nosing above $90 back in January.

The meeting is typically a venue where Walmart showcases new growth initiatives and an announcement about a more meaningful roll out of the grocery pick up service would be consistent with the company’s long held view that its expansive collection of physical assets and increasingly robust digital capabilities uniquely position it for long term success.

“With 70% of the U.S. population living within five miles of an existing Walmart store, this is an idea that simply makes sense for us,” Bender said of the pick up service. “We have the locations already in place, and with our website and mobile app expertise, we’re able to combine those things in a way that helps our customers save time and still take advantage of our everyday low prices.”

To use the service, customers shop their grocery lists online, choose a time to pick up their orders and then pull in to a designated parking area at their local stores where Walmart employees load the purchases into the car.

“It’s all the convenience of a specially trained personal shopper, plus the things you’d expect from Walmart: the same low prices we offer every day in our local stores, no extra fees or charges and the ability to place an order and pick it up the very same day,” Bender said.

If Walmart is uniquely positioned with its physical and digital assets, Bender is uniquely qualified to make the service work on a national level. He is one of the few executives in Walmart’s Global eCommerce organization with a first-hand understanding of the complexity and operational challenges associated with executing the grocery pick up service. Prior to being named to his current position as COO of Global eCommerce, a role in which he is tasked with the integration of digital commerce into new and existing formats, Bender spent four years as executive vice president and president of Walmart West business unit of the retailer’s U.S. stores division.

Bender joined Walmart in 2009 and gained real world operational experience first as a vice president of operations responsible for Arizona, Nevada and Utah and then as a senior vice president of operations with added responsibility for Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds