Walmart to Expand Grocery Delivery as Amazon Battle Intensifies

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The service is now available in six markets.

The largest USA retailer is leveraging its stores to roll out online grocery deliveries from 800 Walmart stores by the end of the year. Instacart serves Walmart, Amazon, Costco and more. The company said no subscription is required. Those stores will be the first to introduce the program, Tom Ward, the vice president of Walmart's digital operations in the US, said on a call with members of the media.

Walmart (WMT) will offer home grocery delivery to 100 metro areas, or 40% of the US population, by year-end to compete with Amazon.com (AMZN), Kroger (KR), Costco Wholesale (COST), Target (TGT) and others expanding similar services. Customers place their orders online at Walmart.com/grocery or on the existing Walmart Grocery App, and unlike other services, they find the same every day low prices on items that they do in stores. "We'll leverage our footprint where it makes the most sense to reach as many people with the services as we can". As it takes the service to other cities, it may use other crowd-sourced delivery methods in addition to Uber.

A recent study conducted by the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen concluded that 70 percent of consumers will be grocery shopping online in as few as five to seven years.

Walmart will soon go head-to-head with online retailers like Amazon in a nationwide expansion of its grocery delivery option.

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With greater control over how its produce is grown, Walmart could vertically-integrate, manage crop yields more effectively, and draw shoppers with transparency and sustainability.

New customers can get their first order delivered for free with the promotional code "FRESHCAR".

"Walmart must expand its delivery capabilities if it is to remain a contender against Amazon and lead the pack against all the rest", Spieckerman said.

Walmart also plans to increase the number of its stores offering curbside grocery pickups by 1,000 to 2,200 by year-end. Despite the slowed growth, executives have reiterated their forecast for 40 percent growth during the fiscal year.

"We're going to gain customers who might not have access to a brick-and-mortar store", he said.

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