Walmart tests 2-hour ‘Express Delivery’

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 1,191 views 

Walmart continues to push the envelope on delivery as more consumers are looking for shopping convenience.

The retail giant is piloting a new “Express Delivery” service that delivers more items from the store to customers’ doors in two hours or less. Walmart said the initial test of the service has been ongoing in 100 stores since mid-April and the retailer is ready to expand the service to almost 1,000 stores in May. Plans are to have the service in 2,000 stores in the coming weeks.

Walmart said the service will be available in Northwest Arkansas and Fort Smith, but declined to say what stores will it and when that will be. None of the stores checked in Northwest Arkansas offered the service as of Friday (May 1).

“We have an opportunity to serve our customers no matter what life calls for,” Tom Ward, senior vice president, customer product, said in a statement. “Whether it be a last-minute ingredient, medicine when a fever hits, or the item you didn’t know you needed when checking off your chore list, time matters. Express is a solve for that.”

Express Delivery allows customers to order across more than 160,000 items from Walmart’s food, consumables and general merchandise assortments such as groceries, everyday essentials, toys and electronics. The cost for the two-hour delivery is $10 per order on top of the existing delivery charge. This service relies on the 74,000 personal shoppers who will pick customer orders and includes additional personnel shoppers hired for this new service. Walmart will utilize its existing lineup of delivery providers to take orders from stores to customer’s doors.

“We know our customers’ lives have changed during this [coronavirus] pandemic and so has the way they shop,” said Janey Whiteside, Walmart’s chief customer officer. “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 item prices for Express Delivery are the same as those found in stores and online grocery pickup, despite the added labor costs. The service is an addition to pickup and delivery slots available to customers.

Walmart said customers can order online or sign in to the Walmart app and search their zip code to see if Express Delivery is offered in their area. If so, the option is selected at the checkout. The order is picked by Walmart, a delivery driver retrieves the order at the store and makes the delivery within two hours. No money is exchanged at the door, transactions are all electronic.