Target Expands Curbside Pickup to 1,550 Stores for Back to School

| Mike O'Brien

Target is expanding its free curbside pickup program, Drive Up, ahead of the busy back-to-school season, making it available at 1,550 stores and adding coverage in the Northeast, the company reported in a blog post. Several markets are being added in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, with expansion in others.

CommonSense Robotics Goes Underground with Grocery Fulfillment

| Mike O'Brien

Israeli firm CommonSense Robotics is building what it says is the world’s first underground automated fulfillment operation for grocery delivery, anticipating a future where facilities like this will occupy abandoned urban spaces above and below ground to fulfill one-hour deliveries for city dwellers.

Kroger Pilots 30-Minute Grocery Deliveries in Cincinnati Area

| Mike O'Brien

In the never-ending quest for delivery immediacy, grocer Kroger is testing out 30-minute deliveries in its home market of Cincinnati, cutting the promised time from Amazon’s Prime Now in half. Called Kroger Rush, the service costs $5.95 per order, with the first order free, and requires an app download.

Target, Walmart Find Fresh Ammo in Grocery Wars

| Mike O'Brien

After weeks of concentrating its fire on Amazon, Walmart is now dealing with a flank action from Target as the latter has fully integrated its Shipt same-day delivery service with Target.com. Walmart, for its part, just launched a $98 per year subscription program for same-day grocery delivery, a service that normally costs $9.95 per order.

Amazon Unveils New Robotic Hybrid Drone-Plane

| Mike O'Brien

You just knew Amazon wasn’t going to get shut out of a DOT sanctioned drone delivery pilot program a year ago that let in Google, a FedEx/General Electric/Intel team and Uber, and take it lying down. The ecommerce giant unveiled a bold new delivery system that’s part drone, part aircraft and part robot that uses sensors, AI and ML.

Amazon Makes 10 Million Items Available for Prime One-Day Delivery

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon just turned up the heat in the three-way battle for dominance atop ecommerce sellers, announcing more than 10 million items eligible for its new one-day delivery standard via Prime. This compares with 220,000 items available for free next-day delivery from Walmart, announced in mid-May, and 35,000 from Target ReStock.

Ecommerce Fraud Cooks Up Trouble in Food Delivery

| Eyal Raab

While retailers pursue same-day delivery, grocers often complete and ship orders in an hour, while restaurants get even less time. Merchants in food delivery thus have to make instant decisions about the legitimacy of a purchase or risk upsetting their customers. The trick is implementing fraud prevention without ruining the experience.

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.

Same-Day Delivery Service Dolly Raises $7.5M in New Funding

| Mike O'Brien

Same-day delivery services startup Dolly has raised $7.5 million in new capital to fund expansion and increase its operational and technical teams, raising its venture funding total to $20 million. An Amazon executive is one of the new investors. Dolly plans to expand to 15-20 new markets this year and uses independent contractors.