Wal-Mart to test grocery delivery through Uber, Lyft

Nick Turner

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will test the delivery of groceries using Uber and Lyft drivers, aiming to match the convenience of services offered by Amazon.com Inc. and other e-commerce companies.

The retailer will try out Uber in Phoenix and Lyft in Denver within the next two weeks, Wal-Mart’s chief operating officer of e-commerce, Michael Bender, said in a statement. The company previously began a pilot program in March using Deliv to deliver Sam’s Club groceries and other merchandise in Miami.

The move steps up competition with Amazon’s burgeoning grocery-delivery service and provides a potential new avenue of growth for Uber and Lyft. The idea is to let Wal-Mart customers pick out groceries online and then have employees fill the order and give it to one of the ride-hailing companies’ drivers. Shoppers will pay a $7-to-$10 delivery charge to Wal-Mart to have the groceries brought to their door.

Greater use of technology was a theme of Wal-Mart’s annual meeting on Friday, with Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon, pointing to e-commerce spending and sales-floor advancements. He also used the new Facebook Live service to connect with associates.

“Our investments in education and training, store structure, wages, hours and sales floor technology are to support you and enable you to serve your customers and members,” he said.

Wal-Mart has moved to boost worker pay over the past two years, raising minimum wages to $10 an hour in February. But labor organizations are pushing the company to embrace a $15-an-hour base. The advocacy group Our Walmart said it held conversations with McMillon this week ahead of the meeting to discuss their demands.

The delivery push has taken on more urgency as Americans shift more of their spending online.