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08/24/2021

Walmart moves into Instacart turf with delivery service

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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delivery service
Walmart is becoming an online delivery platform.

The newest retail delivery platform needs no introduction.

Walmart is taking on the likes of Instacart and DoorDash with the launch of  new line of business called Walmart GoLocal, which delivers goods to customers of other businesses. The discount giant is building the new service on the existing infrastructure supporting the Express Delivery same-day delivery service it rolled out in 2020. This includes drones, autonomous vehicles and market fulfillment centers.

This white-label delivery-as-a-service offering includes nationwide delivery capabilities on a range of assortment, including those with size and complex requirements, as well as the flexibility to meet varying timelines. Walmart says it will rapidly expand GoLocal to offer additional services.

The retailer says GoLocal is business an important part of its overall strategy, which includes diversifying its revenue streams and profit pools with initiatives like the Walmart Connect third-party ad platform and Walmart Fulfillment Services network for third-party marketplace sellers.

The GoLocal launch comes several weeks after the retailer partnered with Adobe to begin selling several of its own e-commerce technologies and capabilities to other retail businesses.

Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of grocery e-commerce platform Mercatus, told Chain Store Age that Walmart will obtain several strategic benefits from this move.

“Acting a delivery partner allows Walmart to leverage its own infrastructure and at the same time put a firewall up against the Amazon, other marketplace providers, and direct-to-consumer players using Shopify,” said Perrier. “This strategy also provides a value add for Walmart by offering local resellers on its marketplace a fulfillment option that previously would’ve been handled elsewhere. By acting as a third-party partner, Walmart will be able to gain visibility into a wide range of delivery orders outside of the Walmart ecosystem that would’ve gone to other carriers.

“Furthermore, the gig players will feel additional pressure now that local vendors have another option for delivery,” Perrier continued. “In the end, the delivery partner best positioned to aggregate orders and use other revenue to bear the cost of fulfillment will come out on top; and as of right now, we predict that will be Walmart.”

“In an era where customers have come to expect speed and reliability, it’s more important than ever for businesses to work with a service provider that understands a merchant’s needs,” said John Furner, president and CEO, Walmart U.S. “Walmart has spent years building and scaling commerce capabilities that support our network of more than 4,700 stores and we look forward to helping other businesses have access to the same reliable, quality and low-cost services.”

“We’ve worked hard to develop a reliable last-mile delivery program for our customers,” said Tom Ward, senior VP, last mile, Walmart U.S. “Now, we’re pleased to be able to use these capabilities to serve another set of customers, local merchants. Be it delivering goods from a local bakery to auto supplies from a national retailer, we’ve designed Walmart GoLocal to be customizable for merchants of all sizes and categories so they can focus on doing what they do best, leaving delivery speed and efficiency to us.”

Walmart GoLocal has already established a number of contractual agreements with national and enterprise retail clients across a variety of verticals, and is currently accepting select new merchant partners here.

Walmart operates approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 48 banners in 24 countries and e-commerce websites.