Walmart to Launch Delivery Service for Other Businesses
Walmart said Tuesday it will start farming out its delivery service, using contract workers, autonomous vehicles and other means to transport rival retailers’ products directly to their customers’ homes as fast as just a few hours. The nation’s largest retailer said it will dispatch contract workers from its Spark delivery network, which was launched in 2018, to merchants’ stores to pick up items and then bring them to customers. Over the past year, Walmart has doubled Spark’s coverage to more than 500 cities nationwide, providing access to more than 20 million households. Walmart said the delivery service, Walmart GoLocal, has already signed a number of deals with national and small-business clients.
Total Retail's Take: Walmart is extending its influence beyond its core brick-and-mortar retail business, putting it into direct competition with delivery services from Uber and DoorDash, among others. The retailer has diversified its revenue streams, protecting itself against a potential downturn in its own sales by partnering with other local and small businesses for this delivery service, as well as offering SMBs the e-commerce technology it developed to let shoppers buy products online and pick them up at stores. This level of revenue diversification isn't a strategy specific to Walmart. In fact, the retail chain's chief rival, Amazon.com, has its Amazon Web Services cloud computing unit, which the online behemoth built for itself and now sells to other businesses. In the long run, Walmart is wise to seek other ways to extend its outsized influence and resources, both human and digital, beyond traditional retailing.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.