Walmart, which has noted its desire to earn “primary destination status” with its customers, invested heavily in automation—and, by proxy, speed—in 2021. Among other moves, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer is working to build new microfulfillment centers adjacent to or inside its existing stores to allow for faster online order fulfillment, including for curbside pickup.
“It’s no secret our customers love the speed and convenience of pickup and delivery," Walmart SVP of Last Mile Tom Ward wrote early last year. “These local fulfillment centers help unlock our ability to expand even faster to meet their needs today while also setting a new foundation to serve them in the future.” The country’s largest grocery retailer also was the most trusted grocery source for more consumers in the U.S. in 2021 than any other store, according to BrandSpark International’s latest Most Trusted survey. Walmart also came out on top in value rankings and for one-stop-shop convenience.
In December, Walmart announced it was ready to dispense newly authorized COVID-19 treatments Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, meant to help prevent severe illness, through both its drive-thru pharmacy windows and curbside pickup—allowing COVID-positive individuals a chance to receive FDA-approved treatments quickly without a risky trip to an in-store pharmacy.
“As we have since the beginning of the pandemic, we’re proud to support our communities through everyday essentials, healthy food, vaccines, medication and other health care needs as we all work together to weather the pandemic,” Walmart SVP of Pharmacy Kevin Host said in a statement in December.