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Walmart Testing Out Third-Party Grocery Delivery Drivers

Uber-like service takes care of administrative duties, allows contractors to work on their own schedules
Photograph courtesy of Walmart

Walmart is testing out a new crowd-sourced platform that uses a third-party service to take care of hiring, background checks, payment and organization of grocery delivery drivers. 

The move is the latest pilot in the retailer's journey to explore alternative delivery options, such as Waymo's self-driving cars and robotic grocery order assembly at one of its Supercenters.

In this case, the Spark Delivery platform is poised to offer the retailer "last mile" grocery delivery options, allowing drivers sourced through Delivery Drivers Inc. (DDI) to sign up for blocks of time that work best with their schedules. 

“We’re always looking for the best ways to serve [our customers], so we’re exploring a number of different options for getting groceries from our stores to the customer’s front doorsome in-house, some third party," said Tom Ward, VP of digital operations for Walmart U.S., Bentonville, Ark.

Walmart will do a test run of Spark Delivery in Nashville and New Orleans with plans to roll out to a few more metro areas this year in hopes of reaching its goal of bringing grocery delivery services to 100 metro areas, which is double what it covers today.

While the change will not affect customers in the pilot areas, Walmart President and CEO Greg Foran said the overall mission is saving customers time by "leveraging new technology and connecting all the parts of our business into a single seamless shopping experience: great stores, easy pickup, fast delivery and apps and websites that are simple to use."

“We’re serving our customers in ways that no one else can. Using our size and scale, we’re bringing the best of Walmart to customers across the country," he said. "Spark Delivery is one way we’re exploring how to get quality groceries from our door to our customers’ doors.”

Along with taking care of recruiting and other administrative duties, DDI will provide drivers, who are paid by delivery, with access to services and information such as navigation assistance in understanding order flow and a Contractor Entrepreneurial Program that helps drivers establish their own small businesses.

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