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TechCrunch reports on how the delivery wars continue to rage, with Walmart “taking aim at Instacart, Target’s Shipt and Amazon Prime Now/Whole Foods with a new grocery delivery subscription service called simply, ‘Delivery Unlimited.’ Before, Walmart shoppers could order groceries online and pick them up at their local store for free or they could opt to pay the $9.95 (or sometimes less) per-order delivery fee. Delivery Unlimited is a third option that offers consumers a way to skip the per-order fee in favor of a monthly or annual subscription” - $12.95 per month or $98 per year.

The story makes the point that Delivery Unlimited isn’t available at all Walmarts yet, but is in the process of being rolled out.

It is a competitive price for the service - Target’s Shipt and Instacart both offer $99 annual membership fees. Amazon Prime, at $119 a year, is more expensive but also includes more benefits, including access to streaming services and proprietary content.

TechCrunch points out that “unlike some grocery delivery businesses, Walmart doesn’t operate its own network of delivery professionals or independent contractors. Instead, Walmart partners with delivery providers across the U.S., including Point Pickup, Skipcart, AxleHire, Roadie, Postmates and DoorDash. It has also tried, then ended, relationships with Deliv, Uber and Lyft.”
KC's View:
Walmart understands that its investments in e-commerce are bearing fruit - the story says that its Q1 e-commerce sales were up 37 percent, and it is on track to expand its offerings. Right now it offers grocery pickup at 2,450 locations and delivery at nearly 1,000 locations, with expectations that by the end of the year it will be pickup at 3,100 stores and delivery at 1,600. And do investing in a delivery fee model that undercuts Amazon Prime also makes a lot of sense, though I’m personally dubious that Prime members will suddenly switch to Walmart, especially because Prime benefits go beyond fast delivery.

I still have to wonder if the next big investment Walmart will make will be the acquisition of a big national delivery service that will allow it to exert more control of this part of the experience.