Walmart going national with 'unlimited' grocery delivery subscription program

Walmart is not ceding the lucrative grocery delivery subscription market to Amazon or other rivals.

The discount giant plans to expand its grocery delivery membership program, called “Delivery Unlimited,” to 1,400 stores later this fall. For a fee of $98 per year or $12.95 per month, customers can purchase groceries online and either have them delivered to their home or pick them up at a local Walmart store, with no per-order charge. Customers will continue to have the option to pay a per-delivery fee (typically $9.95), without a membership.

The retailer began piloting Delivery Unlimited in the four markets of Houston, Miami, Salt Lake City, and Tampa in June 2019. Based on positive response to the pilot, Walmart is expanding the program to all 200 metro areas where its grocery delivery service is currently available. As the company continues to expand its grocery delivery service, it will also expand Delivery Unlimited. Walmart intends to make the service available in more than 1,600 stores and more than 50% of the country by the end of 2019. The membership comes with a free 15-day trial.

Eligible items for delivery include fresh produce, meat, seafood and bakery items, pantry staples, consumables, and select general merchandise. Customers place their orders online or on the existing Walmart Grocery app, with the same prices that are offered in-store.

Delivery Unlimited builds on Walmart’s existing curbside grocery pickup service that allows customers to order their groceries online and pick them up in stores without ever getting out of their cars. Grocery pickup is available in nearly 3,000 stores. The company employs more than 45,000 personal shoppers that complete a three-week training program learning how to select the freshest produce and the best cuts of meat for online grocery customers.

“We’ve been investing in our online grocery business by quickly expanding our grocery pickup and delivery services. Delivery Unlimited is the next step in that journey,” said Tom Ward, senior VP, digital operations, Walmart U.S. “By pairing our size and scale and these services we’re making Walmart the easiest place for to shop. Combine that with the value we can provide, our customers can’t lose.”

Walmart is expanding Delivery Unlimited as Amazon has been aggressively adding new markets across the country to its AmazonFresh service, which offers Prime members the chance to receive one-to-two-hour delivery of fresh product for an add-on charge of $14.99 per month. The annual fee for Delivery Unlimited is priced competitively with Amazon Prime Now (which costs $119 per year and also features grocery deliveries), and Target’s Shipt service and Instacart’s annual subscription (which are both $99 per year).