Walmart is taking drone delivery to the next level, expanding its reach this year. According to Walmart’s press release they plan on making life easier not for consumers by making fast drone deliveries possible in more areas.
Walmart has ambitious plans to expand their delivery service with the help of DroneUp. The company says that once this new plan is executed, they will be able reach 4 million households in several parts Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Currently, a total 37 stores can deliver by air – 34 of which are run by DroneUp.
The company announced the expansion of their drone services in a blog this Tuesday. The company is currently limited to flying drones near the headquarters in Northwest Arkansas and North Carolina, but changes are up soon.
Walmart’s new growth initiative is a step towards changing the face of e-commerce and retail. The increased drone delivery capacity will outdo existing rival companies like Amazon in terms speed, which could make them more competitive with their services.
The expansion is easy for Walmart as they have done initiatives like these before. Walmart has been testing drone delivery initiatives during the COVID-19 lockdown, when they partnered with three drone operators – FlyTrex, DroneUp and Zipline. The cooperation helped deliver essential groceries and medicines to households who needed it most.
The physical presence of Walmart is a strategic decision of the company. Over 90% of Americans live near Walmart’s 4,700 stores. The proximity of its stores will help the company deliver services fast and hassle-free.
When a customer decides to use the drone delivery system of Walmart, orders are packaged and loaded to the drone – each order should not exceed 10 pounds and should be made within 8AM to 8PM. The fee for delivery is $3.99.
Once the delivery is ready, a certified pilot remotely mans the drone and delivers the package above the yard or driveway of the customer and a cable brings down the package.
Walmart drone service feature is accessible via DroneUp’s website. However, the company said it plans to add the feature to its app and website soon.
David Guggina, Walmart US’s senior vice president of innovation and automation, said that the recent expansion of the company’s drone reach will lead to 1 million packages delivered by drones every year. Guggina said that people use drone service for ease.
Walmart also said that it has plans to use their drone services to other income-generating programs.