Walmart has unveiled a new last mile grocery delivery pilot, a crowdsourced platform called Spark Delivery, that is currently operating in Nashville and New Orleans. The retailer plans to roll the service out to a few more metro areas this year.
The retail giant has been on a major last mile delivery kick in 2018. Walmart partnered with the third-party providers DoorDash and Postmates earlier this year, in addition to its existing partnership with Deliv, as part of a goal to extend grocery delivery services to 40% of U.S. households and 100 metro areas by the end of the year.
Additionally, Walmart will open a fulfillment center in the Bronx, N.Y. this fall to handle delivery of groceries and Apple electronics. At the start, the service will only handle Jet.com orders. Today, Walmart grocery delivery is available in nearly 50 markets.
Spark Delivery uses independent drivers who partner with Delivery Drivers, Inc. (DDI), a last mile delivery management contractor, to complete deliveries. The launch has been compared to Amazon’s delivery service for Prime Now, Amazon Flex, which also enables independent drivers to deliver parcels with their own car.
The Walmart pilot uses an in-house platform that enables drivers to sign up for windows of time that work best for their schedule, as well as grocery delivery order details and navigation assistance. Components of Spark are powered by Bringg, a delivery logistics technology platform.
DDI, the administrator of driver management for Spark, manages recruiting, screening and background checks, payment and accounting, among other services for drivers. Drivers are paid on a per-delivery basis. Through DDI, drivers can access services such as assistance in understanding order flow, group discounts, and a contractor entrepreneurial program designed to help drivers establish their own small businesses.