Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery program in partnership with Uber. The discount retail giant announced this week that grocery delivery via Uber is now available in four new markets: Dallas, Orlando, Tampa and Phoenix.
Walmart first partnered with Uber a year ago when it kicked off a pilot program that also included Lyft and Deliv. Walmart has experimented with other last-mile delivery options since then, including an ongoing pilot that has store associates delivering online orders on their way home from work.
"We've been testing delivery in a number of ways for a while now in key markets across the country," Walmart ecommerce VP Mike Turner wrote in a blog post. "In some areas, we're trying general merchandise deliveries led by associates. In others, we're testing grocery delivery using Walmart trucks and drivers. We're working hard to find a way to get you fresh, quality groceries all while keeping a little more time on your calendar."
Ultimately, Walmart is looking for ways to cut shipping costs, bring more efficiency, and improve delivery times as it competes with ecommerce giant Amazon. Walmart has figured out how it can leverage its massive brick-and-mortar footprint -- where 75 percent of the U.S. population lives within five miles of a Walmart store -- to bring down costs and expand online grocery services more rapidly than the rest.
That said, it's clear that Walmart hasn't figured out whether the economics of these delivery programs make them worthy of a national expansion. By Walmart's own account, curbside pickup makes the most sense for its core customer base, where low cost merchandise is valued more than convenience. With a $9.95 service fee, the Uber delivery program is unlikely to appeal to the average Walmart shopper.