Walmart Inc has reportedly planned to expand its drone delivery service across six states, thereby reaching around 4 million households.
This move will make it possible for more consumers to get everything from dinner ingredients to a box of diapers delivered in under 30 minutes.
By expanding with drone operator DroneUp, the retail giant stated that it will reach consumers in parts of Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Utah, Texas, and Virginia. The air deliveries will be provided from 37 stores, out of which DroneUp will operate 34 stores.
Currently, Walmart provides drone deliveries from certain stores close to its headquarters in Arkansas and North Carolina.
Walmart has been exploring the potential of drones in transforming the retail sector, steering e-commerce growth, and turning its stores to compete with Amazon. In 2020, it signed deals with three operators- DroneUp, Zipline, and Flytrex- and commenced trial projects to deliver groceries, at-home Covid-19 test kits, and household essentials to customers.
The new type of delivery extends the retailer’s strategy to leverage its massive physical presence as a competitive advantage.
Close to 90 percent of Americans live within a 10-mile radius of one of Walmart’s 4,700 stores. The retail giant has used these stores to offer a broad list of fast online alternatives including InHome, curbside pickup, and Express Delivery, which delivers at doorsteps in less than two hours.
Consumers who reside within the Walmart drone-delivery range site can order thousands of products between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Every drone delivery comes with a fee of USD 3.99. Consumers can order products up to 10 pounds.
Every order is picked, packed, and loaded at the store and remotely operated by a certified pilot to the customer’s driveway or yard. Walmart has also revealed plans to eventually add the order-placing functionality to its own app and website.