Walmart is expanding its drone delivery service to six more states this year, with the goal of making fast deliveries for customers in a wider area.
The company is taking delivery using drones with DroneUp, which will allow them to cover more ground in less time. Currently, there are 37 stores able to deliver by air with 34 of it run by DroneUp. With this expansion, Walmart is expected to reach 4 million households across several areas including Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
The announcement was made by the company in a blog post this Tuesday. Currently, Walmart’s drone services is only limited to few stores near the company’s headquarters in northwest Arkansas and North Carolina.
In an effort to outpace its rival companies, Walmart has launched the growth initiative that will change the dynamics in in e-commerce and retail. The increased capacity for these services is set make the company more competitive.
It is not too difficult for Walmart to perfect its drone delivery system as they had already test initiatives during the COVID-19 lockdown when partnered with three drone operators – FlyTrex, DroneUp, and Zipline. The cooperation helped deliver essential groceries and medicines which were highly required by those in need inside their homes.
The physical presence of Walmart is a strategic decision of the company. 90% of Americans live near Walmart’s 4,700 stores. The proximity of its stores will help the company deliver services fast and hassle-free.
When a customer decides to use the drone delivery system of Walmart, orders are packaged and loaded to the drone – each order should not exceed 10 pounds and should be made within 8AM to 8PM. The fee for delivery is $3.99.
Once the package is ready, a certified pilot remotely operates the drone and sends the package above the residence of a customer and then a cable brings down the package.
The drone services of Walmart is made via DroneUp’s website. However, the company said it plans to add the feature to its app and website soon.
David Guggina, Walmart US’s senior vice president of innovation and automation, said that the recent improvements of the company’s drone deliveries could allow the industry to deliver more than 1 million packages by drones every year. Guggina said that their drone service is mostly used by consumers for ease.
Walmart said that it also has plans to utilize the drone service to generate income through other programs.