Walmart launches delivery service, with the holidays just around the corner

Walmart launches delivery service, with the holidays just around the corner

Walmart on Tuesday launched a delivery service for other merchants across the United States, an announcement that comes as merchandise sellers rush to secure deliveries ahead of the important holiday shopping season.

Walmart has been testing its first company-branded “last mile” delivery vans this year, following Amazon’s lead as pandemic-driven e-commerce demand puts pressure on United Parcel Service, FedEx and the United States Postcard Service.

Through its latest program, called Walmart GoLocal, Walmart will send workers from its Spark delivery network to merchant stores to pick up items and then deliver them to shoppers. In the past year, the retailer has doubled Spark’s coverage to more than 500 cities, Walmart CFO Brett Biggs said at an earnings conference last week.

“We’re looking at different potential revenue streams, ways to market the capabilities and scale that Walmart has, so we’ll think about what that means as this program unfolds,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of the “last mile business” from Walmart in the United States.

Walmart declined to elaborate on the program’s fee structure, but said it would be “competitively priced”.

Amazon.com, the world’s # 1 online retailer, delivers packages through a same-day delivery service called Flex and contracts with fleets of vans that drop packages at home doors.

Walmart’s move comes at a time when traditional shippers are facing another chaotic holiday season that, just like last year, will see them struggling with more packages than they can deliver.

During the holiday peak season, there are expected to be about 5 million more packages a day seeking delivery than suppliers capable of meeting that demand, UPS CEO Carol Tomé told analysts in July.

The company, which delivers packages for both Amazon and Walmart, recently said it was looking into the possibility of super-fast local delivery, in addition to the expensive express delivery offered by the company and its rival FedEx.

Ben Oakley
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