Walmart unveils new plan to compete with Amazon’s grocery service

These physical stores, however, could be a key part of Walmart’s continued online growth. Write about walmartOn the company blog, Tom Ward, senior vice president of consumer products, considered their brick-and-mortar stores a competitive advantage.

As reported by chain store age, in 2019, Walmart piloted a local fulfillment center in Salem, New Hampshire, essentially building a smaller warehouse into an existing store, using robots to pick up items and prepare them for packing. This micro-distribution center mixed with employee-selected items like fresh produce, and the partially automated process improved the speed and efficiency of local door-to-door delivery and customer pickup at this location. With online shopping on the rise during the pandemic, Walmart announced an expansion of these micro fulfillment centers in 2021 (via Grocery Drive).

The announcement of these four new fulfillment centers also follows Walmart’s announcement of an expansion of its drone delivery service. The Wall Street Journal reports that drone delivery, which Walmart began using in Arkansas stores in November 2021, is coming to five additional states. Self-contained air parcel delivery can carry up to 10 pounds and arrives with orders in 30 minutes or less. Drone delivery is now available to 4 million homes in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

According CNBCfresh and frozen foods will still be packaged and distributed through local stores, but the new distribution centers will house pantry items and other stable grocery staples.

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