Walmart is taking a page from Uber with its new Spark Delivery program, which uses crowdsourced drivers managed by the Bringg delivery logistics platform to get same-day grocery orders to customers.
The program is being piloted in Nashville and New Orleans, with plans to roll it out to a few other metros later this year.
In Spark, drivers can sign up for delivery windows, get navigation assistance and order details. The drivers, paid by the delivery, are managed by Delivery Drivers Inc., which handles recruiting, screening, background checks, payment and accounting. DDI also helps drivers understand order flow, group discounts and offers a Contractor Entrepreneurial Program so they can set up their own small businesses.
Bringg automates many features of the service, including schedules, route optimization, dispatching and communications.
Spark is in addition to Walmart’s grocery delivery program, now available in 50 markets, with plans to expand it to 100 by year end, covering 40% of the U.S. population. It uses services like Postmates, Deliv and DoorDash to handle the last mile, but has dropped Uber and Lyft.
Walmart charges $9.95 for grocery delivery, at a $30 minimum order, with no subscription. They can use a promo code to get their first order over $50 delivered for free.
In addition to delivery, Walmart also offers grocery pickup at 1,800 U.S. stores, with plans to expand it to 2,100 by the end of the year. More than 25,000 personal shoppers fulfill customer orders for both the pickup and delivery programs; they are required to complete a three-week training program.
“We’re saving customers time by leveraging new technology and connecting all the parts of our business into a single seamless shopping experience: great stores, easy pickup, fast delivery and apps and websites that are simple to use,” said Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. in a blog post announcing Spark. “Using our size and scale, we’re bringing the best of Walmart to customers across the country.”