Walmart announced Express Delivery, the company’s zippy new two-hour delivery service for food and other goods, yesterday. The new service comes in the middle of a global pandemic that has spurred a drastic wave of demand online grocery shopping.
According to the press announcement, Express Delivery was being tested in 100 stores since Mid-April. In early May, the service will broaden to nearly 1,000 stores before rolling out to 2,000 total stores in the ensuing weeks. Express Delivery costs an additional $10 on top of the initial delivery fee.
The obvious motivation for Express Delivery is simply that more people than ever are shopping for groceries online. In fact, a survey out this week from Brick Meets Click found that online grocery sales hit $5.3 billion in April, up 37 percent over March (which was its own record-setting month). Order number, size and frequency are all up as well.
In March, a market research study from Gordon Haskett Research Advisors found that Walmart was the top destination for those shopping for groceries online. So the company has been bearing the brunt of this crush of online shoppers.
Walmart, as well as every other grocery retailer, has been struggling to keep up e-commerce demand. It was looking to bring on an additional 150,000 workers this Spring to keep up. In addition to delivery and now Express Delivery, the retailer also expanded its contactless curbside pickup options.
Back before the dark times, Walmart was in the midst of working on Walmart+, its answer to Amazon Prime. Walmart+ reportedly would expand on Walmart’s Delivery Unlimited subscription service as well as offer perks on things like prescriptions and gas.
Speaking of Amazon, Walmart’s Express Delivery also brings it up to speed, as it were, with the two-hour delivery Amazon offers for free to its Prime members. Once this pandemic recedes, it’s not too hard to imagine Walmart’s Express Delivery, having been scaled and battle-tested by COVID-19-driven demand, would be a benefit of Walmart+.
For those interested in trying out Express Delivery, visit walmart.com/grocery or the Walmart app and search for your ZIP code to see if Express Delivery is offered in your area.