Walmart is planning to expand on its successful Walmart Delivery Unlimited grocery delivery service by incorporating an Amazon Prime-type membership program—Walmart+. While Walmart claims that the new service will not offer the same kinds of benefits to its members as Amazon does, it will be in direct competition with Amazon Prime. Walmart is No. 3 on the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000. Amazon ranks No. 1.
Nuro, which makes autonomous delivery vehicles designed to operate on public roads, says the service will start “in the coming months” in Houston, Texas. Autonomous deliveries initially will be available to customers who opt into the test program. The goal will be to expand robotic delivery to the general public later in 2020, Nuro says. Walmart Inc., No. 3 in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, and robotics company Nuro Inc. will test making grocery deliveries using driverless vehicles. Using the R2, a retailer’s employees load online orders into compartments of the vehicle, which then drives itself to a customer’s home. When the order arrives, the customer receives a notification from a mobile app that the self-driving robot is outside. The customer then uses a PIN to open the appropriate compartments and retrieve their order.
Walmart has recently filed two patents for drone delivery to customers. One patent is for a system allowing the drone to land on an outdoor platform, then send a signal to open a trap door that would enable the package to be moved inside. The other patent is for a window unit that includes a net to automatically catch packages dropped from a drone, and verify the drop with communication between sensors.
For the second quarter in a row, web sales at Walmart Inc. grew 37.0 percent, according to the company’s report. The increase was impacted by strong growth in groceries sold online, the company stated. For the second quarter ended July 26, Walmart reported total revenue of $130.38 billion, an increase of 1.8% from $128.03 billion a year ago. Profit for the quarter was $3.61 billion, compared with a net loss of $861.0 million the previous year. The company called online grocery “a meaningful contributor to ecommerce growth.” The quarter ended with more than 2,700 grocery pickup locations and more than 1,100 delivery locations in the United States. Walmart reached another milestone with making its same-day delivery service available to 75 percent of the U.S. population. The company had planned to extend same-day delivery by the end of the year but announced it had met the goal ahead of schedule.