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06/23/2022

Walmart Canada opens virtual convenience store

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart Now
Walmart Canada’s new convenience store is delivery only.

The Canadian subsidiary of Walmart is expanding upon a partnership with a well-known online delivery platform.

Walmart Canada is piloting Walmart Now, the first virtual convenience store available in Canada, in the Greater Toronto area. Walmart Now offers an assortment of close to 4,000 items, including apparel basics, toys, personal care, and house cleaning essentials, picked and delivered from 10 existing Walmart Canada locations in as fast as 30 minutes by Instacart.

Instacart uses the Carrot Storefront, its end-to-end white-label e-commerce solution, in addition to the Instacart app, to support Walmart Now. The Walmart Now virtual storefront is available on the Instacart website and app.

Walmart Canada began working with Instacart in 2018, and has already been offering customers delivery in as fast as an hour from more than 250 locations across Canada via the Instacart app and its e-commerce site.

Walmart Now is not Walmart Canada’s first effort to leverage its physical store infrastructure to support a virtual business. In March 2021, the retailer partnered with scalable “ghost kitchen” (the popular term for a digital kitchen that only fulfills digital food orders) platform Ghost Kitchen Brands to offer one-stop meal pickup and delivery.

Customers can order freshly prepared meals in-store and online for contactless pickup or delivery from a third-party app such as Uber Eats, and mix and match from a variety of third-party food service brands. All meals are prepared in one kitchen for one pickup or delivery.

Meanwhile, the virtual convenience store concept has also been gaining popularity. In September 2021, Instacart introduced the Instacart Convenience Hub. Customers in nearly every major U.S. city can use the Instacart Convenience Hub to shop for convenience products 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with free priority delivery in as fast as 30 minutes for Instacart Express members on orders over $10. This followed the launch of the DoorDash DashMart online convenience storefront. Introduced in August 2020, the DashMart banner offers both household essentials and local restaurant products for on-demand delivery. 

“Launching Walmart Now, our new Canadian convenience offering featuring our quickest delivery speeds, is proof that Walmart Canada is here to drive change in the e-commerce space,” said Laurent Duray, chief e-commerce officer, Walmart Canada. “We’re nimble, we’re determined and we’re here to change the way Canadians shop online with Walmart. Piloting 30-minute delivery is a milestone in our roadmap to making it faster, easier and more convenient than ever to shop with us.”

“We’re proud to grow our relationship with Walmart Canada to launch Walmart Now - a streamlined way for Canadian customers to access the groceries and goods they need from Walmart in as fast as 30-minutes,” said Chris Rogers, VP of retail at Instacart. “Customers today expect convenience and quick delivery paired with broad selection. We know these components are fundamental as retailers seek to build the best online grocery experience for their customers. By collaborating with leading retailers like Walmart and providing Instacart Platform solutions that are purpose-built for grocery, we’re making it easier for retailers to get customers exactly what they need, when they need it.”

Walmart Canada operates more than 400 stores across Canada.