Ahead of the holidays, Walmart has made a few delivery changes.
One of the biggest — the retailer is increasing the number of items available for delivery from local stores and adding oversized items. That moves means bigger items like that bicycle or 70-inch TV to be placed under the tree will be delivered to doorsteps as soon as same day. In fact, the tree itself (artificial) will be available for delivery now.
“We’ve enabled delivery of oversized items from more than 2,800 stores to be delivered locally – all at Walmart’s everyday low prices,” Tom Ward, SVP of Last Mile, Walmart U.S., said in a blog.
Walmart tells RIS artificial Christmas trees have seen a 115% increase in online search traffic, compared to this time last year, and the newly available, oversized items are a part of the more than 160,000 products that Walmart has available for delivery.
In addition to shipping large items, Walmart has also expanded the number of stores that offer pickup and delivery on alcohol ahead of the holiday season. Alcohol is enabled for pickup from 3,000 stores and delivery from 1,500 Walmart locations.
Walmart is also adding more more delivery windows for customers. The expanded timeframes are made possible by a new feature on the Spark Driver app. Spark Delivery is a crowd-sourced delivery platform, which uses an in-house platform to provide drivers with the ability to sign up for windows of time that work best for their schedule. The new mobile app feature, called Shopping and Delivery, gives service providers the option to shop and deliver customers’ orders. This gives Walmart a way to provide additional delivery times even if existing delivery timeframes are full.
[See more: Walmart’s Latest Last-Mile Grocery Delivery Pilot]
Shoppers can pay $7.95 - $9.95 for a one-time delivery and an additional $10 fee to get their order in two hours or less with Express delivery. Walmart+ members still have access to unlimited free deliveries but need to pay the $10 fee for Express delivery.
Walmart’s third change to fulfillment this season – it has extended delivery hours by two hours. Drivers will be making deliveries from stores to doors until 10 p.m. local time. This allows customers to place orders up to 6 p.m. for same day or next day deliveries. Shoppers will also get extra time to amend their digital orders after they are placed.
Last week, Walmart joined Target, The Home Depot, FedEx, UPS, and Samsung in committing to working during off-peak hours to address supply chain bottlenecks. The commitments are expected to move more goods faster, by moving towards 24/7 operations at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California. The Port of Los Angeles announced 24/7 service and the The Port of Long Beach expanded operations in mid-September. Walmart is committing to increase its use of night-time hours significantly and projects they could increase throughput by as much as 50% over the next several weeks.
Walmart also recently announced it’s bringing back its month-long savings event, “Black Friday Deals for Days,” but it has added something new this year. Subscribers to its Walmart+ program, which costs $12.95 per month or $98 per year, will receive early access to online Black Friday events. The perk will allow members to shop all of Walmart deals four hours earlier than the scheduled start times for all three events being held throughout November. Walmart+ members will get early access to sales from 3-6 p.m. ET on the starting day of the events, whereas all other shoppers will gain access at 7 p.m. ET.