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Walmart pilots mobile delivery, circumvents risk with Uber, Lyft partnershipsBy
Walmart is stiffening the competition in mobile delivery by partnering with Deliv, Uber and Lyft to provide grocery drop-offs for customers within test markets, in a low-risk test that may produce high reward.
Partnering with outside sources such as Lyft, Uber and Deliv takes away a considerable amount of risk from Walmart compared to the retailer creating its own delivery service. With delivery and on-demand services on the rise thanks to mobile, Walmart needs to continually spearhead mobile integrations such as this to stay relevant.
“Partnering with Lyft and Uber offers Walmart a low-risk and easy way to implement delivery services without investing in more employees and vehicles,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “As consumers’ preferences and expectations continue to evolve, retailers need to find ways to quickly ramp up these flexible fulfillment options and with minimal disruption and cost to their operations.
“Outsourcing services that are not a retailer’s core competency makes sense, as long as it doesn’t make it too expensive.”
Delivering on on-demand
Walmart and Sam’s Club customers in Denver will now be able to order groceries on demand and have them delivered to their homes. The retailer is testing the program starting in the next two weeks and partnering with ride-sharing services to deliver its products.
Users can order and purchase items from Walmart’s mobile-optimized Web site and have them delivered to their location. Once the order is placed, employees gather the products available at the local store and send for a driver from either Lyft or Uber to deliver.
At-home shoppers will be notified of their driver and which ride-sharing service their delivery is coming from. Walmart charges a $7-10 delivery fee.
Customers do not need to pay the drivers; it is all taken care of through the online platform. The company launched a similar version for Sam’s Club customers earlier this year in March.
Walmart mobile initiatives
With continual similar pilots launching from competitors, Walmart is stiffening the playing field with its own introduction but is missing out on all the risk.
The retailer launched other important mobile commerce pushes. For instance, Walmart geared up for mobile-driven back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons by rolling out Walmart Pay to big markets such as Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, with a national release scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer (see more).
Walmart also reportedly discontinued price matching from a printed circular in 500 stores, but the retailer will continue to offer customers at these stores an in-application equivalent, an approach that could accelerate as more retailers recognize the benefits (see more).
“If consumers embrace the new fulfillment options offered by Walmart and the pilot turns into a national rollout, competitors will have no choice but to offer similar services,” Mr. Naumann said. “As customer expectations change, we need to adapt our services to give them what they want.
“After all, the customer is the king!”
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