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Walmart Canada has launched a new online convenience store, Walmart Now, designed to deliver orders to customers in 30 minutes.

The service, powered by Instacart, currently is available in the Toronto metro area.

According to the announcement, "Walmart Now service provides customers with the opportunity to shop from Walmart’s wide assortment of fresh groceries, pantry and household essentials like pet, baby and personal care items, snacks and more with delivery in as fast as 30 minutes. It’s the latest example of how Walmart is unlocking its stores capabilities and leveraging its existing footprint to enhance its omnichannel experience for customers and provide more choice."

In a prepared statement, Laurent Duray, Chief eCommerce Officer, Walmart Canada, said that "launching Walmart Now, our new Canadian convenience offering featuring our quickest delivery speeds, is proof that Walmart Canada is here to drive change in the eCommerce space.  We’re nimble, we’re determined and we’re here to change the way Canadians shop online with Walmart. Piloting 30-minute delivery is a milestone in our roadmap to making it faster, easier and more convenient than ever to shop with us."

Pymnts.com writes that this is Instacart's way of "challenging its restaurant competitors’ hold on the virtual convenience store space … Back in August 2020, DoorDash announced the creation of its DashMart virtual convenience stores, beginning with a rollout in eight U.S. cities. In February of this year, Grubhub announced the launch of its Grubhub Goods digital convenience store."

The story notes that "Instacart has been coming further into competition with DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats, among other aggregators, in recent years, as these restaurant delivery services expand into the grocery category, announcing partnerships with major supermarket chains. Instacart, in turn, launched its Ready Meals Hub in January, offering cooked meals from grocery stores on demand for lower prices than restaurant delivery competitors."

KC's View:

A good move for both Walmart and Instacart, and I wouldn't be surprised if, should this test be successful, the concept gets expanded south of the border to US markets where customer density and a retail footprint combine to make it feasible.

The question is, is the Walmart-Instacart partnership one that persists through an expansion?  If it does, what are the implications for other Instacart retail clients that find themselves competing with this concept?