That's in contrast to a plan Walmart announced last summer, in which the retailer said its own store employees would start delivering groceries on their way home from work shifts.
Intense competition is sweeping the grocery market, following Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods a year ago.
In recent years, Walmart has expanded its curbside grocery pickup service whereby shoppers can order online and pick up their items from their vehicle in the store's parking lot. The retailer announced today that it will expand the service, now available in six markets, to more than 100 cities by the end of 2018.
The Rockford-area Walmart stores now allow groceries to be ordered online and picked up at specially designated zones outside the store. "We're serving our customers in ways that no one else can".
Groceries can be delivered to customers as soon as the same day.
"We will. reach as many households as we can", Ward said. It can house online orders in big coolers in the back ahead of customers' arrival, and it can repurpose existing store staff to prep the online orders as they arrive.
"Say they order by 1 p.m.", Ward said, "they could have their delivery the same day in as little as three or four hours". According to CNBC, Uber will continue to be one of the retailer's delivery partners. Walmart said its online sales are still on track to rise 40 percent this year.
Walmart Inc. has also been testing a service using its USA store workers to drop off general merchandise like toys and bedding to customers' homes after they finish work. He also said Tuesday that the company now employs more than 18,000 personal shoppers with additional hires planned as both grocery pickup and delivery services are rolled out to a larger audience this year.
Despite the increased money and attention from retailers, online grocery remains a tiny part of the roughly $800 billion grocery business in the US. In June, Publix announced it would offer same-day grocery delivery from all of its locations by 2020, many of which are already operating in Tampa Bay.
In the past, Walmart has more heavily pushed grocery pickup as the option that made the best sense for its cost conscious customers who don't want to pay delivery fees.