Walmart's dive into online grocery delivery continues its push to become a bigger player in e-commerce and take on Amazon. There has been plenty of activity from retailers like Walmart and others in the grocery delivery space to support it.
Building off of the company's recent series of grocery updates-including a partnership with Instacart through its Sam's Club wing, the acquisition of Parcel, and the recent announcement of its Eden technology to help reduce food waste-Walmart is now becoming involved in ag tech, with an application for a series of six patents aimed at farm automation, according to The Spoon.
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The supermarket chain announced Wednesday it will expand its online grocery delivery service to more than 40 percent of USA households by the end of 2018. Those stores will be the first to introduce the program, Tom Ward, the vice president of Walmart's digital operations in the USA, said on a call with members of the media.
While Amazon has a grocery delivery service of its own, it has started to use Whole Foods, and its Prime shopping and streaming media service as a mean to add new customers in the sector. Walmart may also be able to use the new service as a way to give its online sales a shot in the arm, after a holiday quarter that disappointed Wall Street due to slowing online sales growth.
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Prime customers can shop thousands of items across fresh and organic produce, bakery, dairy, meat and seafood, floral and everyday staples from Whole Foods Market available for free two-hour delivery. Whole Foods also now offers delivery through Instacart, which ships groceries for Kroger, Acme and Costco, too.Target late past year bought online grocery delivery startup Shipt for $550 million, adding to the competition.
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Despite the increased money and attention from retailers, online grocery remains a tiny part of the roughly $800 billion grocery business in the US. Select alcohol is also available for delivery to customers. He also said Tuesday that the company now employs more than 18,000 personal shoppers with additional hires planned as both grocery pickup and delivery services are rolled out to a larger audience this year. No subscription is required.