Walmart Launches New Last-Mile Delivery Program
Walmart announced earlier this week a new last-mile delivery pilot program, called Spark Delivery, which focuses on fulfilling customers’ online grocery orders. The retailer is working with delivery logistics platform Bringg, a company that offers an Uber- or Amazon-like level of visibility to retailers’ delivery operations. Also similar to Uber, Walmart’s Spark delivery program relies on a crowdsourced workforce — i.e., drivers will sign up for windows of time when they’re available to deliver groceries, and will then be provided with the order details and navigational assistance during their shifts. Bringg tells TechCrunch it’s helping Walmart by offering the retailer the ability to optimize driver schedules, automatically dispatch orders, and allow drivers to communicate their availability. It will also send drivers smart alerts to ensure they don’t miss deliveries. Walmart’s new Spark Delivery is currently being piloted in Nashville and New Orleans, before rolling out to other cities this year.
Total Retail's Take: The delivery wars continue, with a particular focus on grocery, one of the fastest-growing e-commerce categories. As Walmart ramps up its online business to better compete with rival (and market leader) Amazon, it has recognized the importance in getting online orders, particularly groceries, to customers’ doorsteps as quickly as possible. This partnership with Bringg will help Walmart realize its goal of rolling out grocery delivery to 100 markets by the end of this year, a move intended to help offset Amazon's encroachment into the category with its purchase of Whole Foods.