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Wal-Mart Tests Online Grocery Delivery

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the bring-me-a-shrubbery dept.

Businesses 229

fysdt writes "The world's biggest retailer had been rumored to be considering dipping its toe into online grocery delivery for the past few years. The 'Walmart To Go' test allows customers to visit Walmart.com to order groceries and consumables found in a Walmart store and have them delivered to their homes, the spokesman said. Products include fresh produce, meat and seafood, frozen, bakery, baby, over-the-counter pharmacy, household supplies and health and beauty items."

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Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917698)

Please send me two dozen chicks in tight shorts.

Chicks to go: (4, Funny)

Hartree (191324) | about 3 years ago | (#35917858)

Will that be Jersey Giant, Rhode Island Red, or Leghorn?

Oh, and we tried fitting Barbie doll shorts, but they don't fit that well.

Re:Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35918466)

If those chicks would be anything like the ones posted here [peopleofwalmart.com] , I don't want them.

Yawn, it's taken them long enough... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917708)

We've had that for at least 6 years now in New Zealand. Very useful, esp. when you get the discounted delivery offers. http://shop.countdown.co.nz/

Re:Yawn, it's taken them long enough... (3, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 years ago | (#35918054)

But they aren't Walmart

Peapod has been doing groceries over the internet in the US for over 20 years, but they also aren't Walmart.

Re:Yawn, it's taken them long enough... (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 3 years ago | (#35918086)

And we've had it for at least as long here in the states, likely longer. It's not like this is particularly new even here. All this is saying is Walmart is trying it out.

Re:Yawn, it's taken them long enough... (1)

RicktheBrick (588466) | about 3 years ago | (#35918452)

If one is at home most of the time than delivery would work. When I order something online and get it delivered, I can check its progress online. It tells me what day it will be delivered but not what time so I feel like a prisoner in my home until the product is delivered. I would much prefer a pick up point where I could go after an email was sent telling me it was there. The same goes for groceries, I would prefer to shop online and than go to the store and pickup my order. It would be nice if one could drive up to a covered area and see a large door which opens up after one pays for the items. One would than walk into the area and transfer the goods to one's vehicle. This would be especially nice when one needs a few non grocery items. Now one has to search the store and walk about a quarter of a mile to get them too. It would be a time saver for everyone and could be economical since it would mean less employees and less thievery. It would also mean a much smaller store and parking lot. When the products are delivered to the pickup area automatically by conveyor belts it would mean a lot less employees.

Re:Yawn, it's taken them long enough... (2)

MoonBuggy (611105) | about 3 years ago | (#35918556)

Grocery delivery tends to operate differently from normal online shopping. Because the deliveries are short distance and handled by the same company that are actually selling the products, it's much more like a personal courier service - they tend to offer one-hour timeslots in which the delivery will arrive. Your collection idea would work too, but I can't imagine it taking less than 30 minutes total even with a fairly short round trip; half an hour driving to the store, loading the bags, and driving home again doesn't sound any more convenient than a maximum of an hour (since they might well come before the end of the timeslot) sitting at home doing whatever I'd be doing anyway.

Congrats, here's a cookie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35918572)

We've had it in the states for years too, or did you just assume all stores in the US are walmart?

we tried this like 10 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917710)

Failed miserably

what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917714)

and miss out on the ambiance?

Re:what? (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#35917994)

Just drop http://peopleofwalmart.com/?feed=rss2 [peopleofwalmart.com] into your RSS client of choice and get the ambiance delivered online!

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35918276)

Yeah, given their, uh, demographic, you'd think they would've done this years ago.

Offtopic question, but are those people you always see in Wal-mart on the power chairs really disabled, or just fat & lazy? You don't want to think bad of anyone with a legitimate medical condition, but sometime I've just got to wonder...

Re:what? (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 3 years ago | (#35918546)

Offtopic question, but are those people you always see in Wal-mart on the power chairs really disabled, or just fat & lazy?

Does it matter? If they're not "disabled" now, they soon will be. People who eat themselves into disability are becoming extremely common in the US.

Re:what? (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 3 years ago | (#35918568)

COPD. I have a friend that worked the security at one of the Supercenters and asked him that very same question. He said because he has had to call out medical help for them in the past he has found many to be COPD, and the massive amounts of steroids they give them causing them to retain weight and fluids like mad.

If you look at a shot of Jerry Lewis from a few years ago when he was being pumped full of steroids? Same look. I have seen relatives with COPD and it really is a shitty disease. A lot of construction and factory workers end up with it after they retire, I wonder if it is all the plastic they breathe in.

As for TFA, while I hate walking into Wally World as much as the next guy (and I usually end up in the local Supercenter at least twice a week, between picking up items for my mom or giving a ride to an elderly customer who uses them for his prescriptions and shopping, a nice old guy who no longer owns a vehicle) I just don't see how it would work. I mean sure for canned goods one is as good as another, but who would want to get their produce, fruit, vegetables, and meats picked by somebody else who most likely is being paid shit and thus really doesn't care? gross.

produce and meats? no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917724)

I would never buy produce or meat without looking at it first. And there's no way they'd take a picture of each piece.

Re:produce and meats? no thanks (2)

Phoghat (1288088) | about 3 years ago | (#35918002)

When I lived in NY City, I used Fresh Direct [freshdirect.com] . The prices were just about the same as neighborhood supermarkets, there was much bigger variety ( many items were not available locally) and the meats were of the highest quality and cut exactly to my specifications.

Asda have been doing this for years (3, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 3 years ago | (#35917736)

... and of course Asda is the UK version of Walmart.

Has anyone actually set foot inside an Asda store in the past couple of years? I'm never sure if the big anonymous boxes are actually supermarkets, or just a delivery depot.

Re:Asda have been doing this for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917792)

As has Tesco and Sainsbury. Kinda funny that the country of drive through everything has such poor options for local delivery, whereas the UK where everything is near enough walking distance offers it. I tried persuading my local Publix manager (in FL), and he couldn't accept there'd be a market for it!

Re:Asda have been doing this for years (2)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about 3 years ago | (#35918144)

Actually it makes sense that the country with drive through everything doesnt have it and the country with everything in walking distance (though that's not really true) does.

Delivery costs. Hard to make a buck delivering apples to someone at a competitive price when you have to drive 20 miles distance between there and the NEXT delivery address.

Re:Asda have been doing this for years (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 years ago | (#35918170)

Publix did PublixDirect back in 2001, failed miserably (in FL) and they shut it down in 2003 because there wasn't a market for it.

I object to delivery charges... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917738)

I've ordered from several UK groceries stores. They all have a minimum order fee and charge for a named-day delivery. You do get free delivery for orders over £50 ($82) but I ask myself "If my pizza or chinese place can deliver COOKED food for free (minimum order £10 ($16)), why can't my online supermarket deliver food for free? It's not like they have to cook it or anything, just bag it and load it on a refrigerated van."

well free delivery you need to tip to pay the cost (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 3 years ago | (#35917766)

well with free delivery you need to tip to pay the costs of the delivery guy car use for gas and all.

Knowing walmart they may pay the tipped min wage and pay $0 per run and make the drivers use there own car.

Re:well free delivery you need to tip to pay the c (3, Informative)

ydrol (626558) | about 3 years ago | (#35918098)

GP like me, is British. We dont tip if we can help it :)

Only people I tip,
- barber shop,
- mechanic (to make them less likely to rip me off), and
- restaurant if there is no service charge.(cash direct to serving staff - no Credit Card tip)

You tip barbers and mechanics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35918312)

I don't drive, but I've never tipped a barber and never heard of anyone in the UK doing so.

Re:well free delivery you need to tip to pay the c (1)

JayJayAarh (2004724) | about 3 years ago | (#35918576)

Seriously? You don't tip a guy delivering food to your door? The classic joke is that Scots are a bit cheap....I am in Scotland and we always chuck the guy delivering my pizza at least a couple of quid....Shame on you!

Re:well free delivery you need to tip to pay the c (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 3 years ago | (#35918636)

I hated that in the uk some restaurants put the tip right on your bill. I went to an Indian restaurant and made sure to tell the waiter no green onions, and of course my dish comes out and is covered with the things. I wasn't going to tip him but the bastard put the tip right on the bill. I guess technically I didn't have to pay it, but I just didn't have the energy to fight that fight.... Now I live in a country where absolutely no tipping is practiced, it's bliss.

Re:I object to delivery charges... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 3 years ago | (#35917786)

The restaurants aren't delivering it for free. The price includes the cost of cooking, delivering, etc.

Compare the price of a "free delivery" pizza to the price of raw pizza ingredients and delivery from the grocery store.

Re:I object to delivery charges... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917828)

Odd my pizza shop charges same price for deliver or pick-up...

Re:I object to delivery charges... (2)

The End Of Days (1243248) | about 3 years ago | (#35917838)

That just means take-out is a windfall for them.

Businesses that eat their costs don't stay businesses for long. I know this isn't the more pro-business forum on the Internet but really?

Re:I object to delivery charges... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 years ago | (#35918258)

Because no business has ever subsidised one product line with revenue from another. Never in all of history. A casino has never eaten the cost of a room (given free must be below what it costs to have a maid clean it) because they'll make up the loss on that product with the additional profits on another product like the gambling tables.

Which of course isn't applicable to the take-out/delivery case, but then again you spoke about general businesses. Plus of course take-out has some costs that delivery does not - you need a store front of some sort that isn't necessary if you did only delivery. You need a parking spot for the customers, some security precautions since it's easier to be robbed when you let people in to pay and pick up their stuff.

Re:I object to delivery charges... (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | about 3 years ago | (#35918434)

I know pedantry abounds around here, but did you picture yourself striking me down by amplifying my point with complicated examples? Yes, a general statement doesn't cover all nuances, but you didn't rebut me as your sarcastic tone seems to indicate you believe you did.

Re:I object to delivery charges... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 years ago | (#35918650)

I'm not sure comping a room because you'll make more money on the tables is complicated, but ok...

Re:I object to delivery charges... (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35917960)

Indeed. Albertson's has an interesting idea going, they've got basically three tiers of service, do it yourself, pickup and delivery. You pay a bit to have the groceries waiting for you when you stop by, but the cost of it can be a deal if you're in a situation of having to pay for daycare for an additional hour.

Re:I object to delivery charges... (3, Interesting)

Ron Bennett (14590) | about 3 years ago | (#35917788)

Two major reasons for supermarkets charging a fee ...

1. The profit margin is presumably far lower than a food place.

2. The delivery people likely are regular hourly paid employees and aren't expected to be tipped; use company vehicles instead of their own.


Re:I object to delivery charges... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 3 years ago | (#35918212)

Around here a 80 dollar grocery bill isn't much food.

Some of the higher end specialty groceries have done this for decades. It has worked for them and made them 'special'.

Speak the english please (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 3 years ago | (#35917744)

"...Tests Online Grocery Delivery"

"...into online grocery delivery"

What? Incredible! This changes everything! ...Oh, wait, it's just a poor sod who either doesn't know what "delivery" means or is unclear how adjectives work.

health and beauty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917746)

Does that include anal lube? I may never need to leave the basement again!!!!

Re:health and beauty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35918206)

You can already order lube from Amazon.

I order it a few times per year.

No, I'm not gay.

Not news... at least not in the UK... (1)

CJSpil (166214) | about 3 years ago | (#35917750)

... where most of the Supermarkets have had a home delivery service where you can order online for years.

I've used Tescos before and it works pretty well although I'm picky enough about fresh produce and meat that I'd rather visit the store for that.

For stocking up on tins, packets, cleaning products etc it was great when I didn't have a car but I tend to use it less now I can drive myself out to the store.

Re:Not news... at least not in the UK... (5, Interesting)

queazocotal (915608) | about 3 years ago | (#35917852)

Indeed - I can order online from any of three supermarkets - Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys,

At the moment, I'm unable to drive, as health problems are making it difficult for me
to get my licence. This also means I'm on a severe budget.

Online delivery means I don't have to drag a couple of bags home on the bus every
day or three - it's great!

It also means that with the aid of my freezer, I can eat really quite cheaply indeed.
I base my orders around buy-one-get-one-free, or half-price offers, and am at the
moment shopping around monthly.

One of them even has an online API! http://www.techfortesco.com/forum/index.php?board=1.0 [techfortesco.com]

Being able to complete an order at leisure, and to reflect on each purchases value and
calories/... has greatly trimmed my grocery bill and waistline.

I'm in a small village - 6 miles from the nearest town of 40K - no 'fast food' places will deliver.

Re:Not news... at least not in the UK... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 years ago | (#35918186)

We don't own a car either, but we live in Canada. Almost all the grocery stores off delivery, but I'm unaware of any that do the shopping for you. We go the grocery store to pick up all the heavy items with a longer shelf life about once a month, and we get them delivered. About $8, which is quite pricey, I guess, but when you consider we're getting about $300 worth of stuff it doesn't make much difference. All the fresh stuff we pick up weekly between 1 or 2 trips to the store. Getting by without a car is do-able if you're willing to make a few changes.

Re:Not news... at least not in the UK... (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | about 3 years ago | (#35918460)

So you have to go to the store and do the shopping, but then they take it to your house? You don't just order online? Or have I totally missed what you were saying?

Seems like a strange premise, at least to me. Marginally useful for people such as yourself without a car, I guess, but you still have to get a bus to and from the place, which is hardly convenient even in cities with excellent public transport. Not lugging the bags back is a small mercy, I guess, but hardly making the best use of a delivery infrastructure. As someone else pointed out, one of the biggest advantages by far of grocery delivery is the website learning what you usually order, so the whole process is done in ten minutes.

Re:Not news... at least not in the UK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35918618)

Despite not being Canadian, my local supermarket offers me the same option (I do the shopping, they deliver it to me).

Living in a dense urban environment I actually don't need to take a bus or drive my car to the supermarket: it's a five minutes walk. At least on this side of the city ("south zone", Rio de Janeiro - Brazil) you'd be hard pressed to find a place to live without a supermarket in walking distance. But while the supermarket is close enough to walk, it's actually very hard to walk carrying a lot of grocery bags. So I walk to the market, shop, walk back home and ten or fifteen minutes later someones come with my groceries. Really nice.

Maybe this doesn't make sense to you since American cities are usually less dense?

My local supermarket also offers Internet delivery (phone too) but it takes less time (from the decision to shop to the point where the groceries are already stored in my apartment) to walk there, shop and deliver.

Re:Not news... at least not in the UK... (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | about 3 years ago | (#35918716)

I was thinking of it in terms of the less pedestrian-friendly US style city, as you correctly surmised, but back when I lived in London I still probably would've found such a service a little strange - if I needed a few things right then, I'd just carry them back with me; if I were doing a week's worth of shopping I'd find it more convenient to order online and have them come the next day.

I guess it works well, or they wouldn't offer the service, it just struck me as odd.

Re:Not news... at least not in the UK... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 years ago | (#35918620)

Not really news in Canada either. There's either companies that do it for you, or the stores itself do it. Then again, you jump back 50 years and you could get everything delivered too. For the last year I've had milk delivered to my house once a week. The local dairy does it here, and it costs nothing. I'm glad to see my milk box is getting a use again.

Asda In the UK (3, Informative)

Fnagaton (580019) | about 3 years ago | (#35917754)

UK store Asda, while owned by Wal-Mart, had been using online shopping for years.

Re:Asda In the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35918012)

Named-day delivery 2-hour slot delivery for £3 (off-peak), £4.50 or £5 (peak) -or- the part most people miss, 8-hour slot at £2.

Online DELIVERY??? (1, Funny)

arikol (728226) | about 3 years ago | (#35917778)

Online delivery?
So the internet IS a series of tubes! The secret is out!!! It's all a conspiracy to keep the online delivered groceries out of our hands!!!!!

Or are they talking about online ordering and old fashioned 'guy on a van brings food to your home' ?

Re:Online DELIVERY??? (1)

RobDollar (1137885) | about 3 years ago | (#35918304)

You'd be surprised how close to the mark you are. A couple of services have been proposed (rather lame link here http://www.tgdaily.com/sustainability-features/52886-team-touts-underground-physical-internet [tgdaily.com] ) that would deliver goods to UK homes with a series of tubes (I kid you not).

I would assume that maybe groceries could be delivered to you in less than the time it takes for the preview button to work here.

Why Walmart and not WholeFoods or Trader Joes? (1)

elucido (870205) | about 3 years ago | (#35917780)

Walmart is not known for having quality food. Why is it so difficult to find a delivery service for quality food but so easy to find a delivery service from Stop and Shop or Walmart?

Re:Why Walmart and not WholeFoods or Trader Joes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917842)

Because stores that sell quality products design their business model around getting people in the store and making impulse buys.

Re:Why Walmart and not WholeFoods or Trader Joes? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917924)

Walmart is not known for having quality food. Why is it so difficult to find a delivery service for quality food but so easy to find a delivery service from Stop and Shop or Walmart?

Trader Joe's would rather you come into the store. The food itself is only part of the experience shopping there, the demo program, employees that actually talk to you, and the generous return policy are some of the things that make Trader Joe's unique.

Disclaimer: I have worked there for 5 years, 3 in a management position, multiple stores. I can't speak for Whole Foods, but I would imagine they would also want customers to come into the store instead of just "getting the food".

Re:Why Walmart and not WholeFoods or Trader Joes? (1)

JayJayAarh (2004724) | about 3 years ago | (#35918628)

I have no idea what "Trader Joe's" is. Given the demographic of /. I would hazard a guess at some American outfit. However, am I the only person that doesn't care for employees that "actually talk to you" ? When I go to buy food, I generally want to get in and out quickly...Nothing p's me off more than hanging around waiting while the staff have a long chat with some customer at the checkout....

Re:Why Walmart and not WholeFoods or Trader Joes? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917936)

Volume. Fixed costs for setting up a delivery service are probably too much for a low volume outfit like Whole Foods. There have been organic delivery services for years, but there's a tremendous difference in price between purchasing a box of one-size-fits-all seasonable items compared to preselected individual items. To bring the costs down to market clearing service rates you probably need a sizeable operation.

quality schmality (1)

poptones (653660) | about 3 years ago | (#35918352)

It has nothing to do with quality. Those high end grocers are running boutiques. They depend on an elitist consumer base that will try new things and incorporate them into a growing palate.

Walmart depends on people expecting the same thing at the cheapest price. They're not always cheapest but if you keep people coming back rather than running off to other local markets they have nothing to compare.

This is why there's a walmart in every small town in america. Even here in the big ol' city there's two whole foods, two trader joes, and a few more specialty markets. That's in the whole city of tucson - where there's also like ten walmarts just within 3 miles of my house. That's a pretty major distribution network.

Re:quality schmality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35918450)

I don't understand why people say Trader Joes is high-end. Trader Joes branded food is cheaper than any major food label, and often times better for you. The food is produced/packaged at the same places all the major brands are, except to Trader Joes specifications. By switching from Vons/Albertsons/Ralphs to only Trader Joes I've managed to save 25% on my monthly groceries while eating healthier. I don't consider it high-end at all.

If anything, the major chains have the elitist consumer base that need brand names. TJ Cornflakes for $2.29 a box or Kelloggs Cornflakes for $4.99? TJ's milk for $2.49/gal with no hormones injected, or Alta-Dena $3.59/gal at a major super market (unless you buy 2, then it's $2.49/ea). Of course you aren't going to find your $4.99 bag of Tostitos tortilla chips at TJs, but you can find their brand with better ingredients for $1.99.

Venture out and try something that's not advertised to shit on TV. When you go to a major supermarket, you are paying for all the advertising of the brand names.

Webvan 2.0 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917798)

Maybe I can buy some socks and some dog food too.

Scary (1, Insightful)

stopacop (2042526) | about 3 years ago | (#35917816)

Are your orders going to be filled at your local Wal-Mart? If so, absolute scary. The people there cannot even tell me where things are at in the store, often leading me around on a wild goose chase with them to find the item I am looking for when I could do that myself.

Re:Scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917888)

Likely not, have you seen their distribution centers?

I for one welcome our new robotic distribution overlords...

Re:Scary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35917908)

Half the time, They know where they are, Just screwing with you. I work there, I know

Re:Scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35918050)

Making it extra-hard for your customers to buy your products. ...smart move, dickheads.

Re:Scary (2)

mindwhip (894744) | about 3 years ago | (#35917956)

Yes the do.... they wander around the store for you with a hand scanner with a screen that tells them what to pick and in the optimum order to pick it...
You can also give written instructions like 'I prefer bananas that are almost going black' if you really want... which they may or may not pay attention to.

Some of the fancier systems even let you enter the number from an old till receipt and let you easily choose items from it without having to search the online store four preferred brand of hair gel

They should be doing even more (2)

Krackbaby (123197) | about 3 years ago | (#35917818)

One of the biggest downsides of ordering something from an online retailer is having to wait a variable amount of time to get your order (and having to pay an arm and a leg to get it fast). I've always thought that Wal-Mart was uniquely situated to offering online product ordering (not just for groceries) that gives you same day delivery for a relatively reasonable price. Their size and reach and efficient logistics puts them in a unique position to offer something like that, sort of a short range FedEx. I realize they already have in-store pickup, but I bet there would significant interest if they could offer full blown delivery at a reasonable price. Amazon isn't nearly large enough to develop this sort of thing, Wal-Mart is probably the only company that could. They order everything in massive quantities, they already replicate most of their merchandise across 50 states, and they're renowned for running a lean (and mean) company.

I mean, you can easily spend $5-10 to get something small delivered like a video game. Fuel may be expensive, but $5 of diesel can push a smaller delivery truck a long way. If you can order a video game in the morning, and have it delivered by 7:00 PM, even if they charge $5-10, I could see that being an easy call for a lot of people.

Re:They should be doing even more (2)

mindwhip (894744) | about 3 years ago | (#35918004)

The biggest draw is once you have used the service a few times all the things you buy are on your favourites list (or similar named equivalent) so it takes you about ten minutes of clicking to do what would take you an hour or more of driving, wandering around, trying to resists impulse buys, queuing for the checkout, more driving and unloading the car...

Given they offer pre-selected small window delivery times here in the UK (20 minute slots), I can get the delivery when I will be home anyway, that's an hour and a half I can use to catch up on my TV, spend time with the kids, read a good book, play computer games etc... That alone is worth the £5 delivery fee

Re:They should be doing even more (2, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35918084)

You do realize that Amazon already provides this sort of service, right? Granted I'm sure it's not everywhere yet, but that's what Amazon Fresh does, they delivery groceries on a one time or regular basis direct to your door, and the food is usually on your doorstep when you get up in the morning.

Webvan ! (2)

mikeabbott420 (744514) | about 3 years ago | (#35917870)

I could see this being useful but many items in a grocery store lack the fungible nature of factory goods. I want to see how the produce looks before I even decide fully on what produce I want, for most types of fresh fruit, fish,meat, vegetables etc

Re:Webvan ! (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 3 years ago | (#35918072)

I love ordering groceries online. I have barely gone shopping for groceries in person in my entire adult life. For $10, I can click a button and have everything delivered into my kitchen the next morning. I don't have to drive around, deal with families and screaming kids and lines and shopping carts and all that crap. I don't have to wander around the store looking for everything. I just click a button and it's done with. It's another thing I don't have to spend precious time from my life doing anymore, like a lot of other things the modern age has afforded us (like banking, going to the video rental store, going to the post office, etc).

The ONLY complaint I have over the almost twelve years I've been doing online grocery shopping is that they'll try and pawn the closer-to-expiration stuff on you if you're not careful. You might get a loaf of bread that expires the day it's delivered. You might get a gallon of milk that expires in five days. Still, I was never a person who enjoyed the grocery store chore, so I live with it and am quite happy.

Pretty Good (4, Interesting)

jewelises (739285) | about 3 years ago | (#35917876)

When I moved out of my mother's basement I used the Albertson's delivery service until they shut it down. It was $14 per delivery, regardless of size, so I'd get all of my groceries for the month in one order.

It was a lot easier to avoid impulse buying and to plan out what was actually needed when I could place the order online. Albertson's would remember your previous order so it was easy to just adjust it slightly each month.

Re:Pretty Good (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 3 years ago | (#35917912)

, so I'd get all of my groceries for the month in one order

Well I guess you saved money. That's about three and a half weeks of frozen dinners, canned food and dry goods by my count, though...

Re:Pretty Good (1)

proxima (165692) | about 3 years ago | (#35918324)

It was a lot easier to avoid impulse buying and to plan out what was actually needed when I could place the order online

Impulse buying groceries is a really interesting phenomenon, and something I'm very prone to myself. The question is, how does your purchasing change in the long run if you can eliminate impulse buying? There seems to be only a few possibilities: 1. You buy healthier items and aren't tempted by junk food and instant gratification foods as much 2. You buy less and throw out less food and 3. You bargain shop better by carefully weighing the value of items. Unlike non-grocery items, sooner or later you'll consume calories, so the question is of what type and whether you can consume these impulse-purchased calories before they spoil.

That said, $14 seems like a lot of money for those benefits, given that grocery shopping is the only type of shopping I enjoy. If I want to cut down on impulse purchases of food for whatever reason, I make it a point to eat right beforehand. If I didn't have a car, though, I'd certainly be interested in grocery delivery.

Re:Pretty Good (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | about 3 years ago | (#35918482)

$14 is steep; the services in the UK (which numerous posters have already mentioned the existence of) charge about £3 to £5, which equates to around $5 to $8. Since deliveries of this type rely on a pre-existing network of stores, with small vans doing the last few miles to the home, I would think that the larger size and lower population density of the US should have a minimal impact on delivery pricing.

Re:Pretty Good (1)

JayJayAarh (2004724) | about 3 years ago | (#35918676)

Huh? Surely the the larger size and lower population density would have a significant impact.....Then again, once you take the difference in petrol/gas prices into account, you could probably drive from New York to LA for the same price as it takes my local Tesco van to get to my house, which is about 1KM away!

Re:Pretty Good (1)

macshit (157376) | about 3 years ago | (#35918638)

I enjoy grocery shopping as well, but that's in "normal" grocery stores, that I can conveniently drop into on my normal walking route.

Walmart (and other U.S. style suburban mega box stores) are different: they're truly unpleasant places, and typically require a dedicated trip to the edge of town or something. I can imagine many people would pony up some cash to get the low prices of Walmart while avoiding the depressing experience and inconvenience.

It's a sad comment on the state the U.S., with the disintegration of any sense of community, but in most places that damage is already done; this is just a reaction to it. I think it's the wrong reaction, and will just make a horrible situation even worse, but it's understandable that someone would choose it.

Has been working fine... (3, Interesting)

wimg (300673) | about 3 years ago | (#35917910)

Has been working fine in Belgium for about 10 years or so. Several of the major stores offer this service for a small fee.

Soon... (1)

falken0905 (624713) | about 3 years ago | (#35917990)

Soon I will never have to leave the house. Ever.
Seriously though, this could be a good service for those who truly are shut-ins and those with limited mobility or transportation. I still think Walmart is evil though. And Starbucks.

They are late to the party, but... (3, Insightful)

Hahnsoo (976162) | about 3 years ago | (#35918034)

While Walmart is certainly late to the party on this one, the business implications are pretty big. They are already the world's largest retailer. They are already known for pushing out local businesses (which may be a good or bad thing depending on which point of view you are seeing). Delivery is one of the few ways that grocery stores have set themselves apart from Walmart. Is this a way for Walmart to strike out at their competition? Are they going to try to cut into competitors like Safeway and Albertson's who offer grocery delivery? My other slightly off-topic question is: why aren't there any fast food hamburger delivery chains? You can't throw a rock without hitting a pizza delivery place (or Chinese or Indian food), but there aren't any well-known burger joints that deliver (at least, not throughout the US in all locations).

Re:They are late to the party, but... (5, Interesting)

proxima (165692) | about 3 years ago | (#35918292)

My other slightly off-topic question is: why aren't there any fast food hamburger delivery chains?

A food's ability to be delivered depends a lot on how well it handles a 30 minute wait. Pizza is okay luke warm, cold, or re-heated. Chinese isn't so great cold, but you can insulate it pretty well and keep it warm enough for arrival, same with Indian food (both reheat okay). Cold sandwiches/subs deliver fine too.

A burger, on the other hand, gets soggy, cold, and disgusting by the 30 minute mark. Fries are similar. These days most fast food places have pretty fast turnover of their fries, and within about 15 minutes of them being left out they're a pale imitation of how good they taste when you first get them. Tex-Mex is similar - tacos get soggy, so much that Taco Bell tastes much worse if you get it in the drive through and drive 10 minutes home with it.

On the other hand, fried chicken products tend to do okay with the wait time. So while we don't see very many chicken-only delivery places, the major pizza chains often add chicken wings to their delivery options.

Re:They are late to the party, but... (4, Interesting)

jkmartin (816458) | about 3 years ago | (#35918404)

No no NO! Walmart is good at 1 thing - selling very large volumes of low to medium quality merchandise in store. When they have tried to move away from this model they have failed - repeatedly and spectacularly. The most recent example came with a redesign of stores and elimination of some merchandise to give a more Target-ish feel. EVERYONE involved in that decision has been terminated and sales dropped by nearly $2 billion. Remember Walmart's competitor to Netflix? No one else does either. Did you know Walmart sells downloadable music? It's cheaper than iTunes and you never hear about it. Walmart went big in electronics and is now reducing that department's square footage by 2000 in each store.

Walmart's profit on sales is very low - something like 3.5% across all merchandise. Grocery items have even smaller profit margins. For this to have even a slight chance of success the delivery fee will need to be tiny as the average Walmart customer is just that cost conscious. That tiny fee could easily be eaten up given even the smallest change in gas prices. I buy nearly all my groceries at Walmart. Given the choice of a $10 delivery fee and actually going to the store I will go to the store every single time.

I live near Walmart's home office, and I have to tell you, Walmart is scared. They are entering unfamiliar territory and they do not know what to do. Other than a few isolated urban pockets, there is no where left for Walmart to expand. You can go to the middle of Alaska and there is a Walmart there. Walmart's years of explosive growth have ended. The stock price has barely budged over the last 10 years. While sales increase, the profit on those sales is decreasing. Something Walmart is trying to pilot here are stores in small towns (pop. 2500) that compete with dollar stores (Family Dollar, Dollar General). This not only breaks their distribution model (large trucks over large roads to large stores) but will drain sales from their existing large stores. Those smaller stores in smaller markets will have even smaller profit margins. Walmart isn't chasing pennies any longer, they are chasing hundredths of cents. Walmart is not innovating they are copying. This grocery delivery trial is just the latest attempt by Walmart of trying something (anything) to reverse what is in all likelihood a slow but inevitable death. Walmart isn't going away anytime soon, but they are going away.

Re:They are late to the party, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35918590)

jkmartin: agree with all you say .... but ... they are growing extremely rapidly in China and India ... Sam's Club China is open and growing fast, and Walmart-China should catch up next year .... So there is still growth in their model, just not in this country, where they have eaten all of the customers there are to be had ...

McDonalds delivers...in Asia (2)

voss (52565) | about 3 years ago | (#35918438)

The McDonalds in Chengdu China has 24 hour delivery.
I saw the McDonalds delivery phone number prominently displayed in McDonalds in Thailand.

KFC also delivers in Asian countries.

GROSS... (0)

Seumas (6865) | about 3 years ago | (#35918044)

First of all, I can already have groceries delivered in Denver from Krogers and have for six years. In Portland, I was having my groceries delivered from either Safeway or Albertsons (this was after Webhome/van/peapod/whatever it was back then, because I forget), since about 2000.

Second, I was forced to go grocery shopping at a Wal-Mart twice and they have a TERRIBLE selection. I don't think Wal-Mart is intended to be a place you buy actual groceries. All they had was microwavable meals and candy and soda and canned goods and tons of pre-boxed macaroni and cheese stuff and other crap. It was like a really big 7-11. It's the place I would go to buy junk food, but not *REAL* food (mostly, you know, because they didn't seem to HAVE real food).

Day late and dollar short? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35918052)

Yep, Walmart is rather late to the game, which is fine by me. I detest the place. Our local Kroger grocery store, King Soopers, has had online ordering and a delivery service since Prodigy was around. That was the horse and buggy days, wasn't it?

Watch out for ordering too much "fresh" produce (1)

owlstead (636356) | about 3 years ago | (#35918060)

Here we have this great service from Albert Heijn (AH). I'm living in an apartment building with a lot of people, and ordering just the toilet paper online is totally worth it. But there was a consumer program called "Radar" and they had a show on the "fresh produce" problem. AH guarantees that you will have at least 2 days until the expiry date, but that makes it hard to buy for a whole week. In the shop you can - eh - shop around for the latest expiry date, but that trick does not work with an online shop. Personally, I would like to *see* my fresh produce before I would buy it (but I'm luckily able to get my fresh produce myself).

Re:Watch out for ordering too much "fresh" produce (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | about 3 years ago | (#35918508)

The ubiquitous delivery services in the UK seem to do a decent job of this - the vast majority of things are no closer to their use by date than I'd expect had I done the shopping myself (although admittedly if I do shop in person I don't spend time going through looking for that one container beyond all the others that won't go bad for a decade), and those that do only have a day or two are marked as such, with the option to send them back with the delivery guy for a refund.

No delivery magic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35918088)

If you have Wal-Mart delivered to your domicile you will miss out on all the particular wonders that will eventually show up on http://www.peopleofwalmart.com

Or maybe that's the point; keep them at home save the eyeballs of the general public.

It just doesn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35918238)

Problem.. you have to wait for delivery. They won't have everything you want so you'll have to settle for substitutes and if you accept substitutes they probably won't give you want you want more often or give you the most expensive items not on sale. So your going to have to visit the grocery store anyway at least for the small fresh stuff and chances are you'll find exactly what they said they did not have in stock. It just doesn't work unless your buying in bulk and stock up for a month at a time.

Amazon has been doing that for a while (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#35918284)

Amazon, of all companies, has been doing that for a while [amazon.com] in Seattle.

Re:Amazon has been doing that for a while (1)

blargster (239820) | about 3 years ago | (#35918484)

I've been using Amazon Fresh for a couple of years now and it is a great service. I usually use the unattended pre-dawn delivery (shows up on my doorstep between 4 and 6AM). Saves me lugging groceries up a few flights of stairs.

The delivery charge is reasonable (approx $6 - $7, I think) but delivery is free if you order at least $200 a month.

The minimum order is $30.

I don't know if they intend to expand beyond of the Seattle area.

Online delivery -- download me a beer, hon. (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | about 3 years ago | (#35918644)

Parse the title! Online delivery? Food->bits->food? Wow! Science really has moved on.
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