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Walmart splits with Uber and Lyft—an opportunity for Instacart?

Walmart splits with Uber and Lyft—an opportunity for Instacart?
[Photo: courtesy of Walmart]

Walmart’s delivery pilots with Lyft and Uber have failed to bring home the bacon, according to a new report from Reuters. The company has since discontinued those services and says it has other providers that will take over in the markets where they were testing.

The report notes that Walmart was planning to grow its store delivery with Uber—up until Uber folded its Rush service. Walmart was running a pilot with Uber in four markets. It had also run an experimented with Lyft in Denver back in 2016.

In April, Walmart signed delivery partnerships with both Postmates and Doordash, which will be among the partners that will execute its new delivery strategy in lieu of Uber and Lyft. Postmates offers its service in roughly 20 metro areas, while Doordash is in about 50.

But Walmart recently promised to roll out delivery services to 100 cities by the end of the year. So who will it partner with next to facilitate this broad expansion?

One possibility is Instacart, a grocery delivery business that has a fairly broad reach. Already, Sam’s Club uses Instacart to facilitate delivery. But as Recode reported earlier this year, Walmart has so far been hesitant to put its biggest brand on the app. The company wants to use Instacart’s network of on-demand delivery workers, not its grocery shelf pickers. It also doesn’t want to put its inventory onto Instacart’s platform. Walmart has already invested in a grocery pickup system using its own employees to fulfill orders.

Still, given this gap in delivery coverage—and the failure of the ride-hail delivery tests—it will be interesting to see if the two companies might strike a deal. After all, Amazon is always looming in the background.

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