Walmart to expand same-day delivery options to include early morning hours

Walmart says it is expanding its same-day delivery options to include early morning hours. The move comes as online retailers compete to meet consumers' growing demand for speed and convenience.

Starting in mid-March, customers who place an order online starting at 6 a.m. can get clothes, home appliances, outdoor supplies or baby essentials delivered within 30 minutes, Walmart said Thursday. Customers will pay $10 for immediate delivery or $5 to have their items delivered within a three-hour window, a Walmart spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch. The service will be free for Walmart+ members, the company added. 

"With Walmart's on-demand early morning delivery and a suite of other convenient options, we're making sure you have what you need, when you need it, so you can reclaim your time no matter what the clock says," the company said Thursday in a statement. 

Executives at Walmart said the early morning feature is among a list of delivery options the retail giant is launching in hopes of increasing sales. Walmart in September began offering a late-night delivery option, which allows customers to get orders placed by 9:30 p.m. delivered by 10 p.m. The company also has on-demand delivery, where customers can select a specific day and time to have an item delivered. 

Those delivery options have been "a key source of share gains among upper-income households and is also the most productive channel for acquiring Walmart+ members," Chief Financial Officer John Rainey said during Walmart's most recent earnings call last month. 

Walmart's move comes just days after rival retailer Target announced an unlimited free same-day delivery service called Target 360. Target said its service will deliver items to customers in as little as an hour for orders above $35. Hoping the speedy delivery option will help boost sales, Target said its offering the 360 service for a promotional price of $49 a year to new members who sign up between April 7 and May 18 (after which the price goes up to $99). 

Amazon, which was the first to offer same-day delivery back in 2015, today charges its Prime members $14.99 a month, or $139 a year, for the service. Best Buy, Sam's Club and Whole Foods (acquired by Amazon in 2017) also offer same-day delivery. 

With Target and Walmart stepping up their delivery games to also include faster, more convenient delivery service, it's clear that customer expectations have changed, retail experts said. Many consumers find it an inconvenience to have to wait a few days to receive a product they ordered online, making delivery speed a huge factor in choosing where to buy. 

A 2023 retail trends report from Shopify found that 60% of consumers expect same-, next-, or two-day delivery when shopping online while 58% of those shoppers expect free next-day delivery. Likewise, a 2022 survey of about 500 retailers in the U.S., UK, Canada, Germany, France and Italy found that 99% of those retailers said they will offer same-day delivery by 2025.


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