Walmart announces GoLocal, a last-mile delivery service for Other retailers

Walmart today announced of a new delivery service business called Walmart GoLocal, which allows other merchants, both large and small, to tap into Walmart’s own delivery platform to get orders to their customers. The service can be used by merchants for various delivery types including unscheduled and scheduled deliveries. They can also expand or decrease their coverage and delivery capabilities as customer demand demands.

GoLocal uses services that Walmart developed specifically for local delivery. Over the past three years, Walmart has been working to scale its in-house Express Delivery service, which promises delivery in two hours or less. The company claims that the service offers more than 160,000 products in a total of 3,000 retail stores. This service is now available to nearly 70% the U.S. populace. It now believes that GoLocal will make the same capabilities available for other U.S. merchants.

The new B2B service gives merchants the opportunity to use Walmart’s logistics and last-mile network, but it does not necessarily mean Walmart employees will deliver the packages. At least, that’s what the initial assumption was.

Instead, GoLocal’s last-mile capabilities will be handled by gig workers from Walmart’s Spark Driver program. These same drivers also support Walmart’s same-day grocery delivery. However, the same-day delivery service relies heavily on third-party services such as Uber’s Postmates and Roadie’s DoorDash. Walmart says that GoLocal will not involve third-party services.

Walmart will instead expand GoLocal to allow for more associate-powered delivery. Walmart has already begun testing electric vans for associate delivery in Northwest Arkansas. Walmart could use these vans to deliver larger items that are too large for Spark drivers and their trucks. Walmart also plans to evolve GoLocal delivery via newer innovations like drones and autonomous vehicles, which Walmart has been testing through its Express Delivery service.

In a statement, Tom Ward, Senior Vice President, Last Mile Walmart U.S. said that “We have worked very hard to create a reliable last-mile delivery program for customers.” We are pleased that we can now use these capabilities for another group of customers, local merchants. We’ve made Walmart GoLocal customizable so that merchants can do what they love best: deliver goods to local bakeries or auto parts to national retailers.

You don’t need to have a particular size merchant in order to participate in GoLocal. The service is available to anyone, from small-scale retailers to large corporations. The sellers don’t need to be listed on Walmart.com because this is not a fulfillment site where Walmart houses third-party inventory. It’s only the last mile delivery. They can still keep the merchant inventory in their local shops.

GoLocal is available to any retailer, but technical integrations are required by retailers in order for them to get started. Walmart offers an API which plugs in to their commerce platform and will notify GoLocal whenever customers place orders. It says that this alerts GoLocal and allows them to dispatch the driver. Walmart also captures feedback about delivery experiences. This could be widely used and give Walmart the ability to access local delivery data that can help it improve its delivery service or make decisions regarding fulfillment center placement.

Walmart claims it has merchant partners who have signed up for GoLocal. This includes contracts with national enterprises retailers. However, Walmart isn’t allowed to reveal the names. Walmart won’t disclose the pricing of the service. It explained that the white-label service has a range of features and the prices can be customized for each retailer.

This service is just one of many initiatives Walmart has in place to help other retailers generate revenues. Recently, Walmart announced it would sell access to its own e-commerce technologies to retail businesses, for example. Walmart is using this strategy to make a profit by offering access to technology and services that it previously used for its operations.

Publiated at Tue 24 August 2021, 15:35.05 (+0000).

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