Walmart is gearing up to transform the grocery industry with the expansion of an innovative alliance. The retailer revealed a crucial investment in service provider DroneUp last year, and now the company is doubling down on that partnership. The pair recently announced its first multi-site commercial drone delivery operation to deliver items to eligible Walmart shoppers by air in as little as 30 minutes.
"When we invested in DroneUp earlier this year, we envisioned a drone delivery operation that could be quickly executed and replicated across multiple stores," said Tom Ward, Senior Vice President of Last Mile at Walmart U.S. "Opening our first hub within months of our initial concept showcases DroneUp's ability to safely execute drone delivery operations with speed. We're already hearing great customer feedback at our first site in Farmington, Arkansas, and look forward to opening additional locations."
Three new locations, located at Walmart stores in Northwest Arkansas, will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, according to a press release. Through DroneUp's delivery operation, Walmart consumers will have access to a safe, convenient, fast, and sustainable delivery option for thousands of items.
Eligible Walmart shoppers in Farmington, Arkansas, can already begin placing orders through DroneUp's website. Additional locations at the Walmart Neighborhood Market #5837 in Rogers, Arkansas, and the Walmart Supercenter #100 in Bentonville, Arkansas, are anticipated to open in coming months.
With each drone powered by a crew of skillful operators, receiving packages via Walmart's new delivery service is as simple as:
"Teaming up with Walmart to launch three delivery Hubs marks a significant leap forward in the broader use of UAS to provide last-mile consumer delivery services and supply chain efficiency options," said Tom Walker, Chief Executive Officer, DroneUp. "Walmart and DroneUp provide an unrivaled ability to pick, pack, and deliver via drones directly from the store to consumers offering efficiencies no other retailer can match. We are proud of our team's ability to deliver the technology helping Walmart launch a new era of commercial drone operations."
Walmart is well-positioned to execute successful drone delivery, as it has over 4,700 stores and 120,000 of the most purchased items located within 10 miles of over 90 percent of the nation's population. DroneUp's airport "Hubs" also feature convenient on-site operations where FAA certified flight engineers can conduct multiple and simultaneous deliveries, making a strong partner for the retailer.
Deli Market News will continue to keep close watch on this influential partnership as we set out to explore how this move will revolutionize the grocery space.