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Walmart, Instacart partnering to offer same-day delivery

Initial pilots are happening in markets in California in Oklahoma

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Photo (c) bgwalker - Getty Images
Walmart is teaming up with delivery platform Instacart to offer same-day delivery in four markets. Under the partnership, consumers in parts of California -- Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego -- and Tulsa, Oklahoma can get delivery in as little as an hour. 

"The new partnership brings thousands of items -- from groceries, alcohol and pantry staples to home decor and improvement, personal care, electronics and more -- at everyday low prices from Walmart stores to customers' doors in as fast as an hour,” the company said in a statement. 

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a call with analysts in May that the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened consumer interest in ordering items for pickup or delivery.

“As this crisis created a need for social distancing and required people to stay at home, customers embraced pickup and delivery even more. Pickup and delivery are attracting greater numbers of new customers,” he said. “The number of new customers trying pickup and delivery has increased four times since mid-March.”

Competing against Amazon

The partnership will help put both companies in a better position to compete against Amazon and Whole Foods, CNBC and CNN reported. 

“The new partnership brings thousands of items — from groceries, alcohol and pantry staples to home decor and improvement, personal care, electronics and more — at everyday low prices from Walmart stores to customers’ doors in as fast as an hour,” Walmart said in a statement.

Instacart already has relationships in place with Target, Costco, and Kroger, among others.

News of the partnership comes at a time when consumers are expecting greater speed when it comes to delivery times amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Walmart announced earlier this summer that it expects to have Express Delivery in 2,000 stores. 

“We know our customers’ lives have changed during this pandemic, and so has the way they shop,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer, Walmart, in a statement. “We also know when we come out of this, customers will be busier than ever, and sometimes that will call for needing supplies in a hurry. COVID-19 has prompted us to launch Express Delivery even faster so that we’re here for our customers today and in the future.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a July testimony before the House Judiciary committee that Walmart and Instacart are major competitors to it and its subsidiary Whole Foods. 

“Every day, Amazon competes against large, established players like Target, Costco, Kroger, and, of course, Walmart,” Bezos said. “... We also face new competition from the likes of Shopify and Instacart.”

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