Walmart is expanding a new Express Delivery service, which, like Amazon’s Prime Now, allows customers to receive deliveries within two hours.
The retailer said eligible products include more than 160,000 items in categories like food, consumables and general merchandise, such as “everyday essentials,” toys and electronics. While Walmart said it will offer these items with in-store prices, Express Delivery will cost $10 on top of existing delivery charges. Customers who pay $98 a year for Walmart’s Delivery Unlimited program, however, will pay only the $10 fee for each Express Delivery.
Walmart said in a statement that it accelerated development of the program because of the coronavirus pandemic and began piloting Express Delivery in 100 stores in mid-April. It will expand to about 1,000 stores in early May and will be available in nearly 2,000 stores “in the following weeks.” That’s nearly half of its roughly 4,750 U.S. locations.
There’s still no word, however, on the status of Walmart+, the membership program Walmart confirmed in February, which was reportedly launching as early as March. In April, a Walmart spokesperson told Adweek that Walmart has not announced a timeline for that program.
Walmart said Express Delivery taps into its 74,000 personal shoppers who pick customers’ orders. Last month, Walmart announced plans to hire another 50,000 temporary workers for a total of 200,000 after receiving more than 1 million applications and working with more than 70 companies that have furloughed workers.
The retailer said it will use its “existing lineup of delivery providers” for the new service.
“We know our customers’ lives have changed during this pandemic and so has the way they shop,” said chief customer officer Janey Whiteside 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.”