- Walmart is testing a new last-mile delivery system, called "Spark Delivery" in Nashville and New Orleans, with more metropolitan areas to come this year, according to a press release.
- The company will use its existing team of 25,000 personal shoppers to fulfill orders and integrate in-house infrastructure with third-party software and a supplier for delivery contractors.
- "Walmart is well on its way to bringing Delivery to 100 metro areas covering 40 percent of U.S. households. Today, the retailer’s Grocery Delivery service is available in nearly 50 markets including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Miami and Seattle," said the company in a press release.
Walmart has been rolling out grocery delivery to an expanding number of regions throughout 2018, using third-party delivery platforms like Doordash and Postmates. The details of how that service could rapidly add geography are firming up with today's' announcement that it is testing taking more control over the last mile — the most challenging part of any consumer delivery.
The two major components that make up a successful last-mile delivery program are the software and the fleet.
For the software component, Walmart has developed some capability in-house while integrating software from Bringg, which powers last-mile deliveries for Panera Bread and restocks for Coco-Cola, among others.
Bringg provided "the structure that connects drivers with orders with customers with dispatchers," Bringg Communications Director Daniel Buchuk told Supply Chain Dive. The company also offers live tracking of deliveries by the receiver, much like watching an Uber driver make its way to the user's pickup location. Live tracking is rare in grocery delivery, which could set Walmart grocery delivery apart in the eyes of consumers.
"People want that transparency. They want to know exactly where that parcel is and that also saves time on site because the driver doesn't have to wait," said Buchuk, who confirmed that Walmart does plan to offer live tracking.
For its fleet, Walmart is going with a crowdsourced model partnering with Delivery Drivers, a nationwide firm specializing in last-mile contractor management.