Walmart today announced its plans to expand its same-day grocery delivery service, a part of its “Walmart To Go” offering, to a new market: Denver, Colorado. This move follows the company’s ongoing grocery delivery tests which have been taking place over the last couple of years in San Jose and San Francisco. The Denver area test is currently a closed beta, meaning customers will be allowed to trial the new service on a first-come, first served basis only. For now, they can request access by signing up at Walmart.com/togo.
The retailer says it began online grocery delivery in San Jose and San Francisco back in April 2011, where the service is also available to most cities along the peninsula.
Customers can choose from tens of thousands of eligible items online, including fresh produce, meat and seafood, dairy, bakery items, and even non-grocery items like health and beauty products, electronics and toys. Shoppers designate a two-hour slot for their delivery, then orders are fulfilled by local Walmart Supercenters and delivered in Walmart To Go trucks.
These branded trucks have previously been used in the San Jose and San Francisco areas, and are now coming to the Denver area, too. Denver was already participating in Walmart’s broader efforts in same-day delivery, which began in select markets last fall. Denver in particular gained same-day delivery in November 2012.
For background, last October, Walmart announced its intentions to experiment in this area of same-day delivery, which began with tests in Northern Virginia (outside D.C.), Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and San Jose/San Francisco, initially. Customers in those regions could shop online – though not necessarily for groceries – then have their orders sourced and fulfilled by their local Walmart stores.
The company is still experimenting with price points for this service, it seems, as they note that the Denver area delivery fees will be “in the $5 to $10 range.” However, it will run some introductory offers for new participants in order to encourage sign-ups, including some free delivery options, we’re told. Same-day delivery is available for orders placed by 8 AM M.T. in the Denver market, and returns can be handled at the time of delivery, in-store, or by phoning to have a driver return to pick up the item.
Though Walmart remains the largest brick-and-mortar retailer worldwide, it has lost ground online to Amazon.com over the years, which threatens its business as more consumers shift their shopping online. And Amazon has been moving into the same-day grocery delivery space with its AmazonFresh service which this summer expanded to its first non-Seattle market when it arrived in L.A.
In addition, Walmart’s news follows that of reports from earlier this month which indicated that Amazon is now looking to bring AmazonFresh to the San Francisco Bay Area, too. This region is currently serving as a hotbed for similar same-day delivery market experiments from a variety of retailers, including also Google (with Google Shopping Express), eBay (with eBay Now) and various startups like TaskRabbit, Postmates, Instacart and others.