Walmart Inc. (No. 2 in the 2021 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000) is expanding the availability of home delivery and buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) services during the holiday season. The changes include increasing the number of stores that offer BOPIS or same-day delivery services for alcoholic beverage orders.
The retail giant says alcohol BOPIS is now available at 3,000 of its 4,740 U.S. stores and delivery services from 1,500 U.S. locations. Since the 2020 holiday season, the mass merchant has added 650 additional alcohol pickup locations and doubled the availability of same-day alcohol delivery, a spokeswoman says. Walmart also made oversized items—like bicycles, 70-inch TVs and artificial Christmas trees—available for same-day delivery. Alcohol and oversized items are subject to Walmart’s standard delivery fees, she added.
Walmart customers pay $7.95-$9.95 for a one-time delivery and an additional $10 fee to get their order in two hours or less with Express delivery. Members of the Walmart+ paid membership program will continue to have unlimited free deliveries. For Express delivery, Walmart+ members pay just the $10 fee.
Walmart+, introduced in September 2020, costs $98 per year, or $12.95 per month. Benefits include free on-demand delivery from stores for orders of $35 or more and free shipping for orders made on Walmart.com, excluding most items sold by marketplace sellers. In a note published in September, Deutsche Bank estimated that 32 million U.S. households are now Walmart+ members.
In addition to making more products available for delivery, Walmart extended its delivery hours to 10 p.m. local time—a two-hour increase. The change allows customers to place orders up to 6 p.m. for same-day or next-day deliveries.
Walmart says it also adds extra holiday-season time slots for local delivery and additional time for customers to amend their orders after placing them. Walmart did not provide specifics.
Walmart says the extended delivery times and additional time slots are possible thanks to its Spark Driver platform. This Uber-like service uses gig workers to make deliveries using their own vehicles. Spark Driver, launched in 2018, also handles deliveries for Walmart’s GoLocal program, which offers “white label” delivery services to businesses. The Home Depot Inc. recently became the first retailer to sign up for the GoLocal service.
“Over the past 12 months, we’ve significantly expanded Spark’s coverage to be nationwide, providing access to tens of millions of households, and growing every day,” the Walmart spokesperson said but declined to provide details.
Walmart’s emphasis on delivery makes sense because same-day delivery is gaining traction with consumers. According to a September survey of 1,000 online shoppers from Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights, 46% of shoppers surveyed cited speed of delivery as important to their online shopping experiences and 16% expect that same-day delivery will be part of their upcoming holiday experiences.
Walmart rival Target Corp. (No. 6) is also taking steps to make omnichannel shopping easier. It recently announced the following “enhancements” for customers who want to pick up their orders:
- The addition of more than 18,000 assigned spaces for curbside pickup.
- A new “Shopping Partner” feature allows guests to send someone else, such as a friend or family member, to pick up their orders, using the through the Target app or Target.com.
- A feature that allows customers to add to their curbside or BOPIS orders and pick up everything up at once.
- Customers can now designate a secondary, backup item option for food and beverage pickup, excluding adult beverage items.
‘Deals for Days’ returns
Walmart recently announced it would again spread out its “Black Friday” savings to three events throughout November. The retailer says that each savings event will begin online at Walmart.com and continue with the same deals in Walmart stores. Here is the schedule:
- Event 1: Toys, electronics, tires: Starting online at Walmart.com on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m., Eastern Time, these deals will include a 55-inch TCL 4K Roku TV for $228, the L.O.L. Surprise! Amazing Surprise Doll set for $64 and the Keurig K-Compact coffee maker for $35. Event 1 also will include Goodyear tires at $20 off with a free tire balance. Deals continue in stores starting Nov. 5 at 5 a.m. local time. Walmart+ members get first access to discounts from 3 p.m. ET–6 p.m. ET on Nov. 3.
- Event 2: Apparel, laptops, home goods: Deals start online at Walmart.com on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. ET and continue in stores beginning Friday, Nov. 12 at 5 a.m. local time. The markdowns will include a Blackstone 22-inch griddle for $117, a Hewlett Packard i3 laptop for $279, and a Shark EZ Robot Vacuum for $288. Walmart+ members get first access to deals starting at 3 p.m. ET–6 p.m. ET on Nov. 10.
- Event 3: A big wrap-up: Walmart does not provide specific dates, times or deal examples for Event 3. The retailer says only that it “will bring its biggest, best savings of the season for the most exciting shopping day of the year.”