Walmart plans to expand its online grocery delivery option to more than 100 metro areas by the end of 2018, reaching more than 40% of U.S. households. Additionally, the retailer will grow its online grocery pickup service from 1,200 stores to more than 2,200.
The grocery delivery program does not require a subscription and offers same-day shipping with a flat $9.95 fee and a $30 minimum order.
Personal shoppers and crowdsourced delivery services will make the expansion possible. Walmart already employs more than 18,000 personal shoppers for its online grocery programs, and the retailer plans to hire thousands more to power the national expansion.
Competition in the online grocery market has been heating up. Costco launched its online grocery shopping and delivery service in Q4 2017, while BJ's Wholesale Club expanded its partnership with Instacart to all 215 East Coast locations on March 13, 2018.
Walmart subsidiary Sam's Club partnered with Instacart to offer food delivery starting in February 2018, making it available to shoppers in Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and St. Louis, according to Reuters. Additionally, a dozen Sam’s Club stores were re-outfitted into distribution centers for Walmart's online grocery business.
The retailer has a built-in advantage when it comes to store-based delivery, as 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, according to Tom Ward, VP of Digital Operations at Walmart. The retailer already reaches more than 150 million customers a week.