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Reuters reports that Walmart is testing a new program, called Spark Delivery, which is designed to use independent drivers to deliver groceries order online to consumers. Spark Delivery, the story says, “is a crowdsourced platform, which works with independent drivers who partner with Delivery Drivers Inc, a separate firm that manages such workers.”

The story says that “the initiative is Walmart’s latest attempt to tackle one of the biggest challenges in retail: the so-called ‘last mile’ of delivering goods to online customers. Despite having 4,700 U.S. stores within 10 miles (16 km) of 90 percent of the U.S. population, the Bentonville, Arkansas based retailer is still trying to figure out how to efficiently make deliveries and has poured billions of dollars into ecommerce in recent years … Walmart has so far had mixed success with its various delivery initiatives.”

Walmart has ended alliances with Uber and Lyft, and also abandoned a scheme to have store employees make deliveries on their way home from work.

Reuters writes that Walmart is racing “to meet its goal of offering home delivery to more than 100 U.S. cities by the end of the year,” which came after Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017, “which spurred several traditional retailers to push such services fearing increased competition in the sector.”

As the Wall Street Journal writes, “In the past, Walmart resisted the costly model of home delivery, instead expanding its curbside grocery pickup, a service that lets shoppers order online and then drive to a local store to pick up their items in the retailer’s parking lot. However, with rivals Amazon.com Inc., Kroger Co. and Target Corp. investing in similar home-delivery services, the company made a pivot earlier this year.
KC's View:
I continue to believe that if Walmart really wants to differentiate itself in this space, it needs to own the delivery experience. Everybody is trying to do it by outsourcing this critical function, but I think it is a long-term mistake that outs the brand potentially at risk. It is expensive, sure, but it isn’t like Walmart doesn’t have money.

Think of it as an investment.