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Walmart Tests New Last-Mile Grocery Delivery Service

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As Walmart expands its grocery delivery service, the retailer is launching a new last-mile delivery pilot—Spark Delivery—to explore an additional way to get groceries from Walmart stores to customers’ front doors.

Spark Delivery is a crowd-sourced delivery platform. The pilot involves an in-house platform that provides drivers with grocery delivery order details, navigation assistance and the ability to sign up for windows of time that work best for their schedule. Components of Spark are powered by Bringg, a delivery logistics technology platform. Spark Delivery engages the services of independent drivers who partner with Delivery Drivers Inc. (DDI), a nationwide firm specializing in last-mile contractor management, to complete deliveries.

“We’re saving customers time by leveraging new technology and connecting all the parts of our business into a single seamless shopping experience: great stores, easy pickup, fast delivery, and apps and websites that are simple to use,” said Greg Foran, president and CEO, Walmart U.S. “We’re serving our customers in ways that no one else can. Using our size and scale, we’re bringing the best of Walmart to customers across the country. Spark Delivery is one way we’re exploring how to get quality groceries from our door to our customers’ doors.”

DDI, the administrator of driver management for Spark, manages recruiting, screening and background checks, payment, and accounting, among other services for drivers. Drivers are paid by the delivery. They also have access to services and information through DDI, including assistance in understanding order flow, group discounts and a Contractor Entrepreneurial Program that helps drivers establish their own small businesses.

“It is important to us at DDI that we help each independent driver run their transportation business correctly,” said Aaron Hageman, CEO, DDI. “We are excited to partner with Walmart to allow them to focus on providing great products while we can build and support a professional driver network to focus on the delivery side of the business.”

Combined with third-party crowd-sourced delivery providers, Walmart is on its way to bringing delivery to 100 metro areas covering 40 percent of U.S. households. Today, the retailer’s grocery delivery service is available in nearly 50 markets including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Miami and Seattle.

Spark Delivery is currently being piloted in Nashville and New Orleans, with plans to roll out to a few more metro areas this year. Nothing changes for delivery customers in these markets. Customers still follow the same process to get their groceries delivered to their doors.

“Our customers love Grocery Pickup and Delivery—it offers convenience paired with the everyday low prices customers expect from us,” said Tom Ward, VP, digital operations, Walmart U.S. “We’re always looking for the best ways to serve them, so we’re exploring a number of different options for getting groceries from our stores to the customer’s front door—some in-house, some third-party.”

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