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Wal-Mart Tests Online Grocery Delivery 229

Posted by Soulskill
from the bring-me-a-shrubbery dept.
fysdt writes "The world's biggest retailer had been rumored to be considering dipping its toe into online grocery delivery for the past few years. The 'Walmart To Go' test allows customers to visit Walmart.com to order groceries and consumables found in a Walmart store and have them delivered to their homes, the spokesman said. Products include fresh produce, meat and seafood, frozen, bakery, baby, over-the-counter pharmacy, household supplies and health and beauty items."
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Wal-Mart Tests Online Grocery Delivery

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    We've had that for at least 6 years now in New Zealand. Very useful, esp. when you get the discounted delivery offers. http://shop.countdown.co.nz/

    • by nedlohs (1335013) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @08:52PM (#35918054)

      But they aren't Walmart

      Peapod has been doing groceries over the internet in the US for over 20 years, but they also aren't Walmart.

    • And we've had it for at least as long here in the states, likely longer. It's not like this is particularly new even here. All this is saying is Walmart is trying it out.

    • If one is at home most of the time than delivery would work. When I order something online and get it delivered, I can check its progress online. It tells me what day it will be delivered but not what time so I feel like a prisoner in my home until the product is delivered. I would much prefer a pick up point where I could go after an email was sent telling me it was there. The same goes for groceries, I would prefer to shop online and than go to the store and pickup my order. It would be nice if one
      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        Grocery delivery tends to operate differently from normal online shopping. Because the deliveries are short distance and handled by the same company that are actually selling the products, it's much more like a personal courier service - they tend to offer one-hour timeslots in which the delivery will arrive. Your collection idea would work too, but I can't imagine it taking less than 30 minutes total even with a fairly short round trip; half an hour driving to the store, loading the bags, and driving home

      • by Nutria (679911)

        I would much prefer a pick up point where I could go after an email was sent telling me it was there.

        That (except for the email) is how grocery stores worked 100 years ago

      • by drsquare (530038)

        If you've gone all the way to the store, you may as well actually go and get the stuff yourself, so you know what you're getting. Otherwise surely they've just give you the stuff closest to its expiry date.

      • We've got stores in Belgium that do both delivery and pickup services. They are part of the Delhaize group, active in the US under the name Food Lion. I don't know if they offer the same services there though.

  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:44PM (#35917736) Homepage

    ... and of course Asda is the UK version of Walmart.

    Has anyone actually set foot inside an Asda store in the past couple of years? I'm never sure if the big anonymous boxes are actually supermarkets, or just a delivery depot.

  • "...Tests Online Grocery Delivery"

    "...into online grocery delivery"

    What? Incredible! This changes everything! ...Oh, wait, it's just a poor sod who either doesn't know what "delivery" means or is unclear how adjectives work.

  • Asda In the UK (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fnagaton (580019) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:48PM (#35917754) Homepage Journal

    UK store Asda, while owned by Wal-Mart, had been using online shopping for years.

  • by chill (34294)

    Where will we get our fix for People of Walmart [peopleofwalmart.com]?

    If you're too fat for even the power chair carts at Walmart, you might be a redneck.

  • Online delivery?
    So the internet IS a series of tubes! The secret is out!!! It's all a conspiracy to keep the online delivered groceries out of our hands!!!!!

    Or are they talking about online ordering and old fashioned 'guy on a van brings food to your home' ?

  • One of the biggest downsides of ordering something from an online retailer is having to wait a variable amount of time to get your order (and having to pay an arm and a leg to get it fast). I've always thought that Wal-Mart was uniquely situated to offering online product ordering (not just for groceries) that gives you same day delivery for a relatively reasonable price. Their size and reach and efficient logistics puts them in a unique position to offer something like that, sort of a short range FedEx. I

    • by mindwhip (894744)

      The biggest draw is once you have used the service a few times all the things you buy are on your favourites list (or similar named equivalent) so it takes you about ten minutes of clicking to do what would take you an hour or more of driving, wandering around, trying to resists impulse buys, queuing for the checkout, more driving and unloading the car...

      Given they offer pre-selected small window delivery times here in the UK (20 minute slots), I can get the delivery when I will be home anyway, that's an ho

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hedwards (940851)

      You do realize that Amazon already provides this sort of service, right? Granted I'm sure it's not everywhere yet, but that's what Amazon Fresh does, they delivery groceries on a one time or regular basis direct to your door, and the food is usually on your doorstep when you get up in the morning.

      • Amazon Fresh sounds like a deodorant for tall, aggressive women.

      • Amazon Fresh only delivers in a limited area in Seattle. That is only a tiny part of America. It is useless to anyone who lives outside of Seattle.
  • by mikeabbott420 (744514) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @08:12PM (#35917870) Journal
    I could see this being useful but many items in a grocery store lack the fungible nature of factory goods. I want to see how the produce looks before I even decide fully on what produce I want, for most types of fresh fruit, fish,meat, vegetables etc
    • by rolfwind (528248)

      I wish there were more Aldis around. One thing I noticed about supermarkets is that they make you run around the entire perimeter of the store and then some to get the basics just so you can much more food than intended. An aldi is about 1/6 to 1/9 the size of a modern supermarket I would estimate (1/3 width * 1/3-1/2 depth). There are about 5 aisles but have what I need 90% of the time. Unlike most mom/pops or convenience stores, they're very cheap, even compared to the supermarkets. The cashiers are

  • Pretty Good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jewelises (739285) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @08:14PM (#35917876)

    When I moved out of my mother's basement I used the Albertson's delivery service until they shut it down. It was $14 per delivery, regardless of size, so I'd get all of my groceries for the month in one order.

    It was a lot easier to avoid impulse buying and to plan out what was actually needed when I could place the order online. Albertson's would remember your previous order so it was easy to just adjust it slightly each month.

    • , so I'd get all of my groceries for the month in one order

      Well I guess you saved money. That's about three and a half weeks of frozen dinners, canned food and dry goods by my count, though...

    • by proxima (165692)

      It was a lot easier to avoid impulse buying and to plan out what was actually needed when I could place the order online

      Impulse buying groceries is a really interesting phenomenon, and something I'm very prone to myself. The question is, how does your purchasing change in the long run if you can eliminate impulse buying? There seems to be only a few possibilities: 1. You buy healthier items and aren't tempted by junk food and instant gratification foods as much 2. You buy less and throw out less food and

      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        $14 is steep; the services in the UK (which numerous posters have already mentioned the existence of) charge about £3 to £5, which equates to around $5 to $8. Since deliveries of this type rely on a pre-existing network of stores, with small vans doing the last few miles to the home, I would think that the larger size and lower population density of the US should have a minimal impact on delivery pricing.

      • by macshit (157376)

        I enjoy grocery shopping as well, but that's in "normal" grocery stores, that I can conveniently drop into on my normal walking route.

        Walmart (and other U.S. style suburban mega box stores) are different: they're truly unpleasant places, and typically require a dedicated trip to the edge of town or something. I can imagine many people would pony up some cash to get the low prices of Walmart while avoiding the depressing experience and inconvenience.

        It's a sad comment on the state the U.S., with the disi

  • by wimg (300673) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @08:20PM (#35917910) Homepage

    Has been working fine in Belgium for about 10 years or so. Several of the major stores offer this service for a small fee.

  • Yes! (Score:2, Funny)

    by PPH (736903)

    If it keeps these people [peopleofwalmart.com] at home and out of the public view, I'm all for it.

  • 1999 called (Score:4, Funny)

    by Spy Handler (822350) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @08:44PM (#35918010) Homepage Journal
    they want their Webvan.com back
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      OMG!!! Did you tell them about the World Trade Center? Obligatory XKCD [xkcd.com]
    • by rolfwind (528248)

      I remember someone talking about how they could order lifesavers from webvan with free delivery and they'd actually drop this off in a small packet! And these were the days of 99 cent gas.

      I'd guess it should be $20 order minimum. Maybe more.

  • by Hahnsoo (976162) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @08:49PM (#35918034)
    While Walmart is certainly late to the party on this one, the business implications are pretty big. They are already the world's largest retailer. They are already known for pushing out local businesses (which may be a good or bad thing depending on which point of view you are seeing). Delivery is one of the few ways that grocery stores have set themselves apart from Walmart. Is this a way for Walmart to strike out at their competition? Are they going to try to cut into competitors like Safeway and Albertson's who offer grocery delivery? My other slightly off-topic question is: why aren't there any fast food hamburger delivery chains? You can't throw a rock without hitting a pizza delivery place (or Chinese or Indian food), but there aren't any well-known burger joints that deliver (at least, not throughout the US in all locations).
    • by proxima (165692) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @09:40PM (#35918292)

      My other slightly off-topic question is: why aren't there any fast food hamburger delivery chains?

      A food's ability to be delivered depends a lot on how well it handles a 30 minute wait. Pizza is okay luke warm, cold, or re-heated. Chinese isn't so great cold, but you can insulate it pretty well and keep it warm enough for arrival, same with Indian food (both reheat okay). Cold sandwiches/subs deliver fine too.

      A burger, on the other hand, gets soggy, cold, and disgusting by the 30 minute mark. Fries are similar. These days most fast food places have pretty fast turnover of their fries, and within about 15 minutes of them being left out they're a pale imitation of how good they taste when you first get them. Tex-Mex is similar - tacos get soggy, so much that Taco Bell tastes much worse if you get it in the drive through and drive 10 minutes home with it.

      On the other hand, fried chicken products tend to do okay with the wait time. So while we don't see very many chicken-only delivery places, the major pizza chains often add chicken wings to their delivery options.

      • by scribblej (195445)

        I know at least three places in my immediate area that will deliver a burger, and they arrive quite tasty.

        On the flipside, I can't find a single Indian place that will deliver!

    • by jkmartin (816458) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @10:07PM (#35918404)
      No no NO! Walmart is good at 1 thing - selling very large volumes of low to medium quality merchandise in store. When they have tried to move away from this model they have failed - repeatedly and spectacularly. The most recent example came with a redesign of stores and elimination of some merchandise to give a more Target-ish feel. EVERYONE involved in that decision has been terminated and sales dropped by nearly $2 billion. Remember Walmart's competitor to Netflix? No one else does either. Did you know Walmart sells downloadable music? It's cheaper than iTunes and you never hear about it. Walmart went big in electronics and is now reducing that department's square footage by 2000 in each store.

      Walmart's profit on sales is very low - something like 3.5% across all merchandise. Grocery items have even smaller profit margins. For this to have even a slight chance of success the delivery fee will need to be tiny as the average Walmart customer is just that cost conscious. That tiny fee could easily be eaten up given even the smallest change in gas prices. I buy nearly all my groceries at Walmart. Given the choice of a $10 delivery fee and actually going to the store I will go to the store every single time.

      I live near Walmart's home office, and I have to tell you, Walmart is scared. They are entering unfamiliar territory and they do not know what to do. Other than a few isolated urban pockets, there is no where left for Walmart to expand. You can go to the middle of Alaska and there is a Walmart there. Walmart's years of explosive growth have ended. The stock price has barely budged over the last 10 years. While sales increase, the profit on those sales is decreasing. Something Walmart is trying to pilot here are stores in small towns (pop. 2500) that compete with dollar stores (Family Dollar, Dollar General). This not only breaks their distribution model (large trucks over large roads to large stores) but will drain sales from their existing large stores. Those smaller stores in smaller markets will have even smaller profit margins. Walmart isn't chasing pennies any longer, they are chasing hundredths of cents. Walmart is not innovating they are copying. This grocery delivery trial is just the latest attempt by Walmart of trying something (anything) to reverse what is in all likelihood a slow but inevitable death. Walmart isn't going away anytime soon, but they are going away.
      • Walmart went big in electronics and is now reducing that department's square footage by 2000 in each store.

        I have to question that statement - because around here the electronics departments only run around 2000-2500 square feet to begin with. (And they've been that size for over a decade.)

        I have to tell you, Walmart is scared. They are entering unfamiliar territory and they do not know what to do. Other than a few isolated urban pockets, there is no where left for Walmart to expand.

        Not only that -

      • Delivery fee is $5 is you specify a 4 hour window. It only works on volume. If you and all your neighbor order, it will be profitable. This actually is re-making me a customer of Walmart. The San Jose area only has 2 Walmarts and no supercenters. This gives me access to supercenter products without driving 20 miles. I put in my first order.

        Considering the time,gas and hassle, $10 delivery fee isn't much. It can be as low as $5, which I think is worth it. Honestly if they only do this to addre

    • The McDonalds in Chengdu China has 24 hour delivery.
      I saw the McDonalds delivery phone number prominently displayed in McDonalds in Thailand.

      KFC also delivers in Asian countries.

    • by drsquare (530038)

      Really? Most generic takeaways in the UK deliver burgers. There are no specialised burger places like that, but the general pizza/kebab/burger takeaways will deliver.

  • Here we have this great service from Albert Heijn (AH). I'm living in an apartment building with a lot of people, and ordering just the toilet paper online is totally worth it. But there was a consumer program called "Radar" and they had a show on the "fresh produce" problem. AH guarantees that you will have at least 2 days until the expiry date, but that makes it hard to buy for a whole week. In the shop you can - eh - shop around for the latest expiry date, but that trick does not work with an online shop

    • by MoonBuggy (611105)

      The ubiquitous delivery services in the UK seem to do a decent job of this - the vast majority of things are no closer to their use by date than I'd expect had I done the shopping myself (although admittedly if I do shop in person I don't spend time going through looking for that one container beyond all the others that won't go bad for a decade), and those that do only have a day or two are marked as such, with the option to send them back with the delivery guy for a refund.

  • Does that mean I have to upgrade to a 10 Giga-carrot connection?

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @09:36PM (#35918284) Journal

    Amazon, of all companies, has been doing that for a while [amazon.com] in Seattle.

    • by Nutria (679911)

      That whole "serving customers in the Seattle area" thing makes it pretty useless to 99% of the population of the US.

  • Parse the title! Online delivery? Food->bits->food? Wow! Science really has moved on.
  • Please, just let me shop from my phone and then pick it up.
     
    Who am I kidding? I'd be thrilled if they could just figure out that the Frozen aisles go last.

  • Supermarket home delivery has been standard in the UK for almost a decade now. For £4-5, they'll deliver an entire order by truck in several crates. All the major supermarkets do this, though Asda's coverage is spotty. (Asda being of course owned by Wal-Mart!) And you don't have to journey to a hideous fluorescent-lit barn on a Saturday and want to kill every other person there.

    The UK is smaller than the US, but for urban or suburban areas this sort of delivery service should be quite doable.

    • I had a food load for 10 people delivered to the middle of the yorkshire dales on New Years Eve, so I have a new respect for tesco's universal delivery policy. I think some of the scottish isles you'd be out of luck but it's a lifeline for remote people too!

  • Oh, Slashdot, while you are a wonderful waste of time normally, this time I thank you. I recently moved from the Kansas City Area (1.5 miles from a Walmart Super Center) to San Jose. Prices here are crazy and the closest Walmart Super Center is 20 miles, (10 to normal store). However thanks to Slashdot, I now know that Walmart delivers to my new address and I plan to use the service heavily. The 5.00 delivery fee is easily offset by the savings from the local stores(not to mention gas cost). My firs

  • Given the average weight of a wal-mart shopper is about 450 lbs., this is a perfect business model. Bring the ho-hos to the "mass"es.

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