Walmart expands drone delivery service to 4 million families

Walmart is expanding delivery of drones to select stores in six states. This will allow more customers to have diapers, groceries or more delivered by air.

Walmart

Walmart It’s expanding drone delivery across six states this year, allowing many customers to get a box of diapers or dinner ingredients in 30 minutes or less.

By expanding with operator DroneUp, the large retailer said it will be able to reach 4 million households in parts of Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia. Shipments will be delivered by air from a total of 37 stores – 34 of which are operated by DroneUp.

It announced its growth plans on Tuesday in a blog post. Walmart currently offers drone deliveries from a few stores near its headquarters in Northwest Arkansas and in North Carolina.

Walmart is testing how a tiny unmanned aircraft can change the game for retail, drive e-commerce growth and turn its stores into a way to outdo Amazon at speed. Two years ago, he Make deals with three operators — Flytrex, Zipline, and DroneUp — and have started pilot projects to deliver groceries, household items, and in-home Covid-19 testing kits to customers. The company refused to participate in the terms of the deals.

The new type of delivery is an extension of Walmart’s strategy to use its massive physical footprint as a competitive advantage. About 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart’s more than 4,700 stores. Through these stores, Walmart has offered a growing list of quick online options including curbside pickup; InHome, which delivers directly to customers’ refrigerators; And express delivery, which drops things at the doorstep in two hours or less.

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Customers who live within range of Walmart’s drone delivery location can order any of thousands of items between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Each drone delivery comes with a $3.99 fee. Customers can order items totaling up to 10 pounds.

Each order is picked, packed, loaded into the store and airlifted remotely by an approved pilot to the customer’s yard or driveway. The cable on the drone lowers the beam slowly.

Orders must be placed on DroneUp’s website Or through the websites of other operators. Walmart said it plans to eventually add ordering capabilities to its website and app.

With a larger network of locations, Walmart will be able to deliver more than 1 million packages by drone per year, said David Gugina, senior vice president of innovation and automation at Walmart US, in the blog post.

He added that one of the surprises of the drone tests was what customers demanded. Gogina said Walmart expected customers to use drones to get emergency items, such as over-the-counter medicines. Instead, he said, many used it for convenience. In one store, for example, the best seller of drone delivery is Hamburger Helper.

Other items delivered by drones are batteries, trash bags, laundry detergent and Welch’s fruit snacks, the company said.

Walmart will use drones to make money in another way, too. It said it plans to offset the cost of the deliveries by selling the drone photos to municipalities and local businesses, such as construction or real estate companies. Revenue will be split with the drone operator.

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