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Walmart tests last-mile grocery delivery

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Spark Delivery is being piloted in Nashville and New Orleans

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart announced on Wednesday a new pilot program to test a crowd-sourced option for delivering groceries and other goods to shoppers.

Walmart said it expects the pilot, named Spark Delivery, to generate information that could spur solutions to the set of problems presented by the final leg or “last mile” of delivery to urban consumers.

Spark Delivery is being piloted in Nashville and New Orleans, and will be introduced to “a few more” metro areas later this year, Walmart said in a statement.

The pilot uses an in-house logistics platform that matches a driver’s availability with a customer’s delivery schedule. The platform also provides drivers with navigation assistance.

Spark Delivery engages the services of independent drivers who partner with Delivery Drivers Inc., a nationwide firm that specializes in last-mile contractor management, Walmart said.

Delivery Drivers will manage the recruitment, screening and payment of the drivers.

With the pilot, Walmart is using its size and scale to expand its grocery delivery program and explore new ways to get groceries “from our door to our customers’ doors,” said Greg Foran, president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S.

“We’re saving customers time by leveraging new technology and connecting all the parts of our business into a single seamless shopping experience: great stores, easy pickup, fast delivery, and apps and websites that are simple to use. We’re serving our customers in ways that no one else can.”

Walmart said its grocery delivery service is available in nearly 50 U.S. markets, from Atlanta to Seattle and from Chicago to Miami. The retailer expects the service to soon be available in 100 metro areas — reaching about 40% of U.S. households.

“Our customers love grocery pickup and delivery — it offers convenience paired with the everyday-low prices customers expect from us,” said Tom Ward, vice president of digital operations at Walmart U.S. “We’re always looking for the best ways to serve them, so we’re exploring a number of different options for getting groceries from our stores to the customer’s front door — some in-house, some third-party.”


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