In the last year, Walmart has tripled the number of last-mile drivers on its Spark Driver local delivery service platform.
The retail giant offered up the detail Wednesday in marking the fifth anniversary of Spark’s launch.
When Spark Driver began, Walmart provided grocery delivery from 800 stores. Today, the retailer has delivery services from more than 4,000 stores.
The Spark Driver platform, a network of crowd-sourced, independent drivers, now operates in 50 states, across more than 17,000 pickup points, with the ability to reach 84% of U.S. households, the retailer said.
Walmart didn’t specify how many Spark drivers are currently working as independent contractors for the company but said “hundreds of thousands” of drivers have made deliveries via the app over the last five years.
Walmart’s Spark Driver platform also powers Walmart GoLocal, the same-day delivery service it provides to other retailers.
As the program has evolved, Walmart said it has improved the Spark Driver app and earnings screens to boost transparency and make it easier for drivers to see how much money they’re making per trip and on a daily and weekly basis. The app has also been upgraded to reduce fraud, Walmart said. Drivers now receive random identity checks asking them to verify their device.
“These upgrades are a direct response to driver feedback and are an important part of the driver experience,” Nav Chadha, VP of on-demand delivery, said in a company blog post. “We’ve learned a lot along the way and won’t stop looking for ways to make the platform better for drivers.”
Walmart is expanding alcohol delivery around the country, and its Spark drivers are now able to make returns for Walmart+ members.
Spark Driver got its start as Spark Delivery in 2018, with a test program in Nashville and New Orleans.
In 2021, Walmart debuted GoLocal, extending its delivery service to other retailers, providing nationwide coverage “at competitive pricing,” the retailer said at the time.
The Spark Driver platform is managed by Delivery Drivers, Inc., a gig labor-management firm that Walmart acquired last year.
“As we look ahead, we’ll continue growing the Spark Driver platform, enhancing the driver experience, and creating even more opportunities for drivers to earn to ensure we’re the delivery platform of choice for drivers everywhere,” Chadha said.