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Walmart ups competition with Prime Now

walmart delivery

Walmart is introducing two-hour delivery as COVID-19 generates increased demand.

The discount titan is accelerating rollout of Express Delivery, a new service that delivers items to customers’ doors in less than two hours. Walmart has accelerated the development of the service in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, piloting Express Delivery in 100 stores since mid-April. 

Express Delivery will now expand to nearly 1,000 stores in early May and will be available in nearly 2,000 total stores in the following weeks. The service enables customers to order across more than 160,000 items from Walmart’s food, consumables and general merchandise assortment such as groceries, everyday essentials, toys and electronics.

Walmart will rely on its team of 74,000 personal shoppers to pick customer orders, including additional personal shoppers hired specifically for Express Delivery. Walmart will utilize its existing lineup of delivery providers to take orders from a store to customers’ doors. The service will cost $10 on top of the existing delivery charge, but there is no markup on item price.

To get started, customers go to the Walmart site or app and search their ZIP code to see if Express Delivery is offered in their area. When eligible customers are creating their order, the search feature at the top of the screen makes it easy to directly search for the exact item they need to add to their cart. 

Customers then proceed to checkout, select Express Delivery and pay for their delivery order. A delivery driver picks the order up at the store and delivers to the customer within two hours. No money is exchanged at the door.

“We know our customers’ lives have changed during this pandemic, and so has the way they shop,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer, Walmart. “We also know when we come out of this, customers will be busier than ever, and sometimes that will call for needing supplies in a hurry. COVID-19 has prompted us to launch Express Delivery even faster so that we’re here for our customers today and in the future.”

Walmart has been actively competing with Amazon Prime and Prime Now same-day and next-day delivery for the past couple of years. Instead of relying on an annual paid subscription model, the discounter instead uses a per-delivery fee structure. Amazon’s revenue grew 26% during Q1 2020. Amazon does not separately report Prime results, but revenue was driven by COVID-19-fueled increases in delivery orders as well as growth in Amazon Web Services cloud platform usage.

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