Wal-Mart Launches Curbside Grocery Pickup Service

The big box store rolls out the latest model of online grocery shopping — following variations by Target and Amazon — this one aimed mainly at suburban shoppers to start.

If you’re short on time but your pantry and refrigerator desperately need to be restocked, Wal-Mart’s new grocery drive-up service could be the answer.

One of the world’s largest retailers announced it’s launching a curbside grocery pickup service at select stores in eight U.S. cities starting Oct. 13.

“Whether you only need a few things, or you actually need several things but only have a few minutes to get them, shopping online for groceries and then choosing a time to have them handed to you (or better yet, loaded into your trunk) is a fantastic convenience,” Wal-Mart said in a blog post describing the new service.

The grocery pickup service lets shoppers pick out their items and pay for them online and then schedule a time to pick up the groceries at the store. There’s no extra charge for the service. Wal-Mart expects the curbside grocery pickup to appeal to a diverse shopping crowd.

This new, easy shopping experience is an innovation that’s helpful for anyone with a busy schedule – particularly moms with small children. They can shop online and choose the pickup time that works for them, and they never have to unbuckle anyone’s seat belt.

Instead of offering the new grocery service in more populated urban areas, Wal-Mart is focusing on suburban areas that are often overlooked by other grocery delivery services, Consumerist said.

Free grocery pickup will be available at select stores in Atlanta; Nashville, Tennessee; Tucson, Arizona; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Charlotte and Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah. Wal-Mart said it will add pickup locations in coming weeks.

From a cost perspective, a grocery pickup service seems to be a good fit for Wal-Mart.

“The economics of pickup are much better for a retailer,” Neil Stern, senior partner at retail consultancy McMillan-Doolittle said in an interview with Money. “Delivering to the home remains costly, even as services like Instacart and Shipt attempt to reinvent the model.”

Target is testing curbside pickup of online grocery orders at select stores, and it recently added a home grocery delivery option. Amazon is also testing both a grocery delivery service in select markets for a $299 annual fee and a drive-up grocery pickup service.

Have you had your groceries delivered or used a curbside grocery pickup service before? Share your experiences below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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