With the Next Salvo, Walmart Offers Free Next-Day Delivery

| Mike O'Brien

Firing back at Amazon’s move less than three weeks ago, Walmart is now offering free next-day delivery to customers in Phoenix and Las Vegas, with plans to expand to Southern California within days and 75% of the U.S. population by the end of the year. Walmart’s deal is mostly free: There’s a $35 order value threshold to qualify.

Walmart Adds Google Voice Capability for Online Grocery

| Mike O'Brien

Two months after dropping out of the Google Shopping Actions platform and the Google Express same-day delivery service after a year-long test, Walmart is adding Google’s voice ordering capability for online groceries as it continues to wage war with Amazon.

Kroger Selects Orlando Area for Second Automated Fulfillment Center

| Mike O'Brien

Kroger plans to build the second of 20 automated distribution centers in partnership with UK grocer Ocado for fulfilling ecommerce orders in Groveland, FL. The state-of-the-art FCs, built by Kroger and powered by Ocado’s automation technology, are just part of Kroger’s innovation push including driverless and same-day delivery.

Cause of Ocado Fire Highlights Concerns About Automated Warehouses

| Mike O'Brien

The Feb. 5 fire that completely gutted an automated Ocado grocery fulfillment center in the UK was caused by a failure in an “ambient grid” storing food at room temperature, raising concerns about what happens in these types of facilities when disaster strikes, according to a Bloomberg report.

Walmart Blows Out Q4 Ecommerce but Seeks Online Profitability

| Mike O'Brien

Walmart continues to see strong topline growth in ecommerce, with online revenue increasing 43% in the fourth quarter and 40% for the full year. But profit in the channel remains elusive and losses are expected to continue this year based on investments in infrastructure, people, online grocery and Store No. 8 initiatives, executives said.

Bringg Raises $25M To Expand Markets, Increase Hiring, Step Up R&D

| Mike O'Brien

Bringg, a logistics software provider in the retail, grocery, restaurant, pharmacy and 3PL categories, has raised $25 million in a Series C funding round to increase its market reach, invest in its team and step up its R&D efforts. See what the company has been up to and how it is disrupting the same-day delivery logistics sector.

Instacart Pricing Change Leading to Threats of a Shopper Boycott

| Mike O'Brien

Instacart, the same-day grocery delivery company used by many grocers, is dealing with customer ire as freelance shoppers fulfilling the orders are passing up some jobs due to a change in the pricing structures. Also a number of shoppers have taken to Twitter to call for a boycott of the service due to a drop in their wages.

Walmart Testing Same-Day Grocery Delivery in China

| Mike O'Brien

After beefing up its grocery delivery chops here, including automated kiosks and crowdsourcing, Walmart is now testing same-day grocery delivery to customers in China through a hookup with WeChat and delivery service Dada. This is separate from Walmart’s partnership with JD.com, although both have invested in Dada.