Walmart Inc. has proposed to open a new concept, called Walmart Pickup, in a Chicago suburb that would enable it to test consumers’ reception to a facility that allows shoppers to drive up and collect orders of online groceries.
The facility would be Walmart’s largest pickup-only site, as well as its first drive-up grocery facility in Illinois. The facility would employ between 30 and 40 associates, according to a report in Supermarket News. A walmart spokeswoman confirmed the Supermarket New report.
The facility would enable consumers to place orders online or via the Walmart grocery app for pickup the same day or as much as two days in advance. Shoppers will be able to select a time to retrieve their order, track the status of their order via a mobile app and notify Walmart when they are on their way to retrieve their order or call a designated phone number to notify the retailer. Shoppers then pull into one of 24 bays where an employee will bring them their order. Walmart anticipates the delivery process to take a little more than 10 minutes. Walmart initially projects about 60-70 order pickups per day at the facility.
The storefront, which is located in Lincolnwood, Illinois, is a former Planet Fitness gym and Dominick’s grocery store that is roughly 41,700 square feet. Dominick’s, which was owned by Safeway Inc., is a now-defunct supermarket chain. The retailer chose Lincolnwood to test the concept because of its density and customer base, according to a Village of Lincolnwood Plan Commission report.
Walmart requested the facility’s hours of operation be from 4 a.m.-12 a.m. to account for early morning deliveries and nighttime stocking and cleanup, according to a Village of Lincolnwood Plan Commission report. The retailer plans to offer customer grocery pickup hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and deliveries would occur between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. The Walmart truck delivery schedule typically includes two deliveries per day; one for produce and one for general merchandise, the report says. Walmart also plans to deliver groceries to consumers from the facility. Walmart is No. 3 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000.
The Walmart Pickup news comes not long after the retailer posted strong e-commerce sales in the second quarter; Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce sales rose 40% in the quarter compared with last year. And the chain has been investing heavily in its online grocery business to continue to drive web sales. It recently began testing a grocery delivery service that uses independent drivers to get groceries from their stores to customers’ homes.
The new pilot program, Spark Delivery, launched last month. Spark uses drivers who contract with Delivery Drivers Inc. (DDI).
By the end of 2018, Walmart says it will offer grocery delivery to 100 metro areas, covering 40% of U.S. households. Today, it offers the service to more than 50 markets including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Miami and Seattle. To reach 100 markets, Walmart is working with third-party delivery providers including Postmates Inc. and DoorDash Inc.
Walmart also offers in-store pickup of online orders at about 2,000 stores and says that will increase to at least 2,100 by the end of the year. Walmart, which has more than 5,000 stores and membership clubs nationwide, employs more than 25,000 personal shoppers, up from 18,000 earlier this year, in its online grocery operations. Those employees complete a three-week training program to learn how to select the freshest produce and the best cuts of meat.
In July, Walmart worked up with Waymo, the autonomous vehicle arm of Google-parent Alphabet Inc., to test a shuttle service that uses self-driving minivans to bring customers to Walmart stores.
Earlier this year, Uber Technologies Inc. ended a two-year-old deal to have its drivers handle grocery deliveries for Walmart across four U.S. cities.
In other Walmart grocery news, Nielsen Brandbank announced yesterday that Walmart is using its service to help it create, manage and syndicate digital product content for its grocery items. The program, which will go live in January, aims to improve and standardize online grocery product information, Nielsen says.
“As Walmart makes its transition from a bricks-and-mortar retailer to a true omnichannel commerce destination, our dedicated team of data specialists, product photographers and quality assurance managers will produce quality digital content to accurately represent grocery products and brands in an engaging, consistent manner that aligns with Walmart’s content strategy,” says Raymond D’Aprile, commercial director North America at Nielsen Brandbank.
James Melton contributed to this article.Favorite