Walmart delivery drones will fly for non-Walmart retailers under GoLocal platform

Walmart drone deliveries

Walmart is commercializing its delivery platform to allow small-town shops to arrange local deliveries with the retail giant. The just-announced Walmart GoLocal platform will see the retailer offer its existing network of drones, autonomous vehicles, and market fulfillment centers to businesses across the United States.

GoLocal: A delivery as a service business line

Walmart’s push into home delivery services began three years ago, with the retailer accelerating the development of the service significantly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Today, Walmart offers express delivery services for more than 160,000 items, including groceries, everyday essentials, toys, and electronics. The retailer says it is able to reach nearly 70% of the US population from around 3,000 of its stores in less than 2 hours.

Now, given that Walmart has already worked hard to develop a reliable last-mile delivery program, it only makes sense for the retailer to monetize this network and build alternative revenue streams and profit pools. Tom Ward, senior vice president, last mile, Walmart US, explains:

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.

How will Walmart drone delivery for other retailers work?

Walmart says its GoLocal delivery service will be able to handle everything from power tools to kiddie pools. The white-label delivery service will give precedence to the client’s branding while serving a variety of use cases: scheduled, unscheduled, and express delivery windows.

Whenever a customer would place an order with a business using the GoLocal delivery service, Walmart would be notified of the same. Depending on the agreement with the retailer, Walmart would dispatch a driver/drone/autonomous vehicle to deliver the item, while capturing the delivery experience feedback, if any.

For drone delivery services, specifically, Walmart plans to leverage the platform provided by its partner company DroneUp, a nationwide drone services provider that has more than 10,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified pilots in its network.

Walmart has already trialed deliveries of at-home COVID-19 self-collection kits with DroneUp and is looking to begin drone delivery services for other goods from its store in Bentonville, Arkansas:

Walmart believes it is uniquely positioned to execute drone deliveries because its stores are located within 10 miles of 90% of the US population.

Also read: Amazon drone delivery program ‘never going to get off the ground,’ UK report reveals

Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that the retailer has already inked agreements with several national and enterprise clients for GoLocal, but is currently accepting select new merchant partners.

As John Furner, president and CEO, Walmart US, sums up:

In an era where customers have come to expect speed and reliability, it’s more important than ever for businesses to work with a service provider that understands a merchant’s needs. Walmart has spent years building and scaling commerce capabilities that support our network of more than 4,700 stores and we look forward to helping other businesses have access to the same reliable, quality and low-cost services.

Read more: After Amazon’s UK cutbacks, DHL abandons Parcelcopter delivery drone project

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