Walmart is expanding its online grocery shopping service to ten additional markets across the U.S., the company announced this morning, including several cities in Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma. Customers in select cities in these markets will now be able to shop for their groceries on Walmart’s website, then pick up their order curbside at their local store. With the expansion, Walmart’s grocery shopping service is now live in over 20 markets.
The full list of newly added cities includes Dallas, Houston and San Antonio in Texas; Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Naples, and Cape Coral in Florida; and Oklahoma City and Tulsa in Oklahoma.
The expansion comes on the heels of a broader rollout of the shopping service which began in September. At that time, Walmart announced what was then a significant number of newly supported cities, including Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte and Fayetteville, N.C.; Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah; Nashville, Tennessee; Tucson, Arizona; and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Those cities came online just this week.
Before that, the local pickup option was only available in five test markets: San Jose, California; Bentonville, Arkansas; Phoenix, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; and Huntsville, Alabama.
With the quickening pace of the rollout to new markets, it’s clear that – for now, at least – Walmart is betting on curbside pickup instead of delivery. Meanwhile, its competitor Amazon is testing grocery deliveries with its AmazonFresh service, and, to some extent, it’s also offering grocery delivery via Prime Now. In addition, grocery delivery is becoming a popular service in a number of regions nationwide, thanks to similar expansion efforts by delivery services like Instacart, Peapod, and Shipt, for example.
However, Walmart’s pilot testing clearly led the retailer to believe that curbside pickup is the best – and most profitable – way to differentiate itself from the competition. It’s also one that takes best advantage of the infrastructure Walmart already has in place, including stores that are within 5 miles of 70 percent of the U.S. population.
Like grocery delivery, the curbside pickup service can reach a similar demographic – those who are too busy to spend hours shopping the aisles at a local store, whether that’s working professionals, soccer moms, or anyone who just hates having to go shopping.
With Walmart’s service, customers use the walmart.com/grocery website to fill their online cart, choosing from around 30,000 SKUs – comparable to what you would find in the store. After checking out and paying online, the customer sets a pickup time frame. When that time arrives, they drive to their Walmart store to designated parking spaces which are reserved for online grocery shoppers.
They’ll then call the store at a provided phone number, and a store associate brings out the cart, including their fresh and frozen items that had been picked and kept cool or frozen in the back of the store ahead of their pickup window.
The customer can remain in their car while groceries are loaded into the trunk. There’s also no additional cost for shopping online versus in the store, which is an advantage over the often pricier grocery delivery services.
Given the newness of the program, Walmart isn’t yet sharing metrics related to how many online grocery orders it’s seeing, or other figures related to demographics and sales. Instead, the company would only say that it’s been fielding “thousands” of requests for it to bring the service to other markets since the news of the first expansion was announced.
The newly announced markets will be live either sometime today or by tomorrow at the latest.