Will Local Merchants Tap into Walmart’s Delivery Logistics?

In late August, Walmart announced the launch of its delivery service GoLocal. The retail giant’s goal is to enable companies large and small to leverage its local delivery logistics platform. Merchants can use Walmart’s delivery infrastructure and platform that the company developed for its own proprietary use.

The company’s own service, Express Delivery, promises delivery in two hours or less. That same service offers some 160,000 products via some 3,000 stores. 

Walmart’s GoLocal team announced this week that HomeDepot is its first large partner on the platform. This doesn’t surprise us. And now you can get a hammer and some galvanized nails delivered to your home. Previously, that was probably only possible via Amazon.

According to the deal announcement, the service offers same-day and next-day delivery. Since the product catalogs of the two companies probably have little overlap, there’s a win, win opportunity. 

This move by Walmart, with a current market valuation of almost $400 billion, should cause palms to sweat at places like Instacart. We all know the pandemic triggered a rush for delivery services and Instacart has certainly taken advantage of the trend.

GoLocal uses third-party drivers to make its deliveries. However, as we reported recently, we suspect the company would like nothing more than to go driverless with autonomous vehicles. Still, we think it will be a while, perhaps years, before driverless delivery advances out of the trial state and into full implementation. 

Walmart has kept pretty mum about its efforts. But indications suggest other businesses are using the platform. Including both large and small companies. As for the deal with HomeDepot — which is not far behind Walmart’s valuation at $350 billion — it will likely start small and expand by the end of the year. 

Walmart Leans into Autonomous Delivery with New Trial

Reaching Out to Local Merchants

When the company announced the launch of GoLocal, Walmart senior vice president, Last Mile, said this.

“We’ve worked hard to develop a reliable last-mile delivery program for our customers. Now, we’re pleased to be able to use these capabilities to serve another set of customers – local merchants. Be it delivering goods from a local bakery to auto supplies from a national retailer, we’ve designed Walmart GoLocal to be customizable for merchants of all sizes and categories so they can focus on doing what they do best, leaving delivery speed and efficiency to us.”

It is a big lift for sure. As a point of clarification, GoLocal is a logistics delivery service, not a marketplace or a merchandising or fulfillment platform. We’re interested to see if Walmart can offer a solution for local merchants and small businesses that is cost-effective for them and their customers. We’re also wondering if local businesses will see GoLocal as an alternative to DoorDash or Instacart in helping them achieve their marketing and sales objectives.

We can imagine a local business owner being suspicious of a service from a company like Walmart that has so dramatically the local commerce landscape. And often to the detriment of small, indepdendent merchants. While the news about Home Depot is intriguing, if Walmart GoLocal starts signing up local businesses, then we’ll really be interested.

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