Walmart says it will start commercializing its delivery service, using contract workers, autonomous vehicles and even drones to deliver other retailers’ products directly to their customers’ homes as fast as just a few hours.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer launched delivery and Express delivery for its shoppers three years ago on more than 160,000 items from more than 3,000 stores, reaching nearly 70% of the U.S. population. The nation’s largest retailer aims to tap into its ties with local communities, particularly businesses in rural areas that have struggled to implement their own delivery operations.
The strategy announced Tuesday will pit Walmart against the likes of Uber, DoorDash and other delivery services. It comes as Walmart moves to expand its sources of profits and revenues beyond its core retail businesses. It’s a strategy similar to Amazon’s cloud computing unit called Amazon Web Services, which the online behemoth built for itself and now sells to other businesses.