Walmart ends delivery partnership with Deliv

Walmart in 2016 said it would begin testing last-mile delivery using services like Uber, Lyft, and Deliv to bring customers’ orders, including groceries, to their homes. Last year, Walmart ended its grocery delivery deal with Uber and Lyft, and today it’s ending the deal with Deliv as well, according to a report from Reuters. Deliv […]

Walmart in 2016 said it would begin testing last-mile delivery using services like Uber, Lyft, and Deliv to bring customers’ orders, including groceries, to their homes. Last year, Walmart ended its grocery delivery deal with Uber and Lyft, and today it’s ending the deal with Deliv as well, according to a report from Reuters.

Deliv had started working with Walmart in pilot markets, including Miami and San Jose, as one of the few services Walmart was testing for last-mile deliveries at the time. The retailer has since significantly expanded its delivery operations through an array of partners to markets across the U.S., in relatively short order.

Walmart this morning confirmed to TechCrunch that Deliv was not a large part of its operations. The retailer said Deliv was only working with 3 Walmart stores out of the total 800, and in only 1 market out of 100, at the time the deal ended.

The retailer in 2018 said it was on track to expand grocery delivery to more than 40 percent of U.S. households by year-end, meaning a jump from just 6 markets to over 100 metros during a year’s time. Uber and Lyft, however, were dropped in May 2018, as Walmart shifted more of its deliveries to other partners, like Postmates and DoorDash.

Last month, Walmart added a handful of new partners, as well, including Point Pickup, Skipcart, AxleHire and Roadie. It said it planned to expand grocery delivery from the 800 stores in 100 U.S. metros where it’s live now, to double that number by the end of 2019.

In Canada, Walmart works with Instacart, which also partners with Walmart’s Sam’s Club in the U.S.

Despite the quick expansion, Walmart’s decision to work with third-party courier services instead of bringing delivery operations in-house has led to some problems. Simple tasks, like allowing customers to change pickup orders to delivery or vice versa, are often impossible. Technical and logistical issues also often can’t be communicated directly from drivers to Walmart, but have to go through the third-party delivery partner.

According to Reuters, Deliv drivers were frequently having to wait up to 40 minutes for grocery orders when they arrived at the store for pickup, as Walmart was unable to process the online orders fast enough, the report claimed. The report also said delivery volume was low in some Walmart delivery markets, and orders had to travel long distances, which caused both Walmart and Deliv to lose money at times.

Related to Walmart’s decision to end its partnership with Deliv, the companies will also no longer operate the keyless entry test in partnership with smart lock maker August Home. Announced in fall 2017, the test would allow customers with August smart home devices to have their packages delivered inside their home, instead of left on the doorstep.

This gives Amazon an advantage in keyless entry, as its Key by Amazon product last month expanded to include garage and business delivery, new locks and Ring compatibility.

“In 2017 we began a pilot program with Deliv in San Jose to understand how the Walmart Grocery Delivery model would work with a scheduled platform,” a Walmart spokesperson told TechCrunch, confirming the news.

“As with any pilot, the intent is to learn and ultimately came to the conclusion that Deliv’s platform was not the best fit for our program. Today, we work with a number of third-party delivery companies operating an on-demand based platform, and we will continue to test different delivery approaches that will help us continue to learn,” they added.

Deliv raised $40 million in Series C funding last October, from Google, Clayton Venture Partners, UPS, General Catalyst Partners, The Macerich Company, PivotNorth Capital, RPM Ventures, and Upfront Ventures. It also works with Best Buy, Macy’s, Home Depot and Walgreens.

 

DoorDash is reportedly raising $500M at a $6B+ valuation

Just days after Postmates filed confidential paperwork for an initial public offering, the latest news in the on-demand delivery space is that competitor DoorDash is in the process of raising a $500 million round, The Wall Street Journal reports. The round would reportedly value DoorDash at more than $6 billion and possibly up to $7 […]

Just days after Postmates filed confidential paperwork for an initial public offering, the latest news in the on-demand delivery space is that competitor DoorDash is in the process of raising a $500 million round, The Wall Street Journal reports. The round would reportedly value DoorDash at more than $6 billion and possibly up to $7 billion.

According to the WSJ, Temasek Holdings Pte., Singapore’s state investment firm, is expected to lead the round.

Last year, DoorDash raised a $250 million round of financing that valued the company at $4 billion. In total, DoorDash has raised nearly $1 billion in funding from investors like SoftBank, Sequoia, DST Global, Kleiner Perkins and others.

Earlier this year, the food-delivery startup became the first startup to operate in all 50 states. Meanwhile, similar to Instacart, DoorDash has also reportedly been subsidizing worker pay with tips from customers, but DoorDash still has yet to respond to TechCrunch regarding the practice.

I’ve reached out to DoorDash and will update this story if I hear back.

UPS and Latch are expanding in-building deliveries to 10 more cities

After launching apparently successful pilot runs in San Francisco and New York, UPS announced today plans to expand its in-building delivery service to 10 additional U.S. cities. In mid-2019, the parcel service will be adding Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Miami and Seattle to the list. UPS’s program was launched […]

After launching apparently successful pilot runs in San Francisco and New York, UPS announced today plans to expand its in-building delivery service to 10 additional U.S. cities. In mid-2019, the parcel service will be adding Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Miami and Seattle to the list.

UPS’s program was launched last summer, utilizing smart locks designed by New York-based startup, Latch. The Initial roll out was a clear attempt by UPS to take on Amazon’s own efforts in the space. Key by Amazon started as an in-house delivery service partnership with Kwikset, which has since expanded out to included cars, businesses and garages.

UPS service is designed to let delivery people enter into common areas, rather than individual apartments, so they can leave packages in lobbies and foyers when residents are out. Latch currently has a sign up form on its site for those interested in taking part in the program. The move is another key win for Latch, which has been carving out a name for itself in the crowded smart lock space, through deals with retailers like Jet and a recent $70 million raise. 

Nuro deploys autonomous delivery cars without safety drivers

A few months after Nuro deployed self-driving cars to deliver groceries in partnership with Kroger, the autonomous delivery startup is deploying its custom delivery bots. Up until now, Nuro was relying on Prius vehicles and safety drivers. Now, its delivery service in partnership with Kroger will be completely driverless and without a safety driver on board. Nuro has been […]

A few months after Nuro  href="https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/16/nuro-and-kroger-are-deploying-self-driving-cars-for-grocery-delivery-in-arizona-today/">deployed self-driving cars to deliver groceries in partnership with Kroger, the autonomous delivery startup is deploying its custom delivery bots. Up until now, Nuro was relying on Prius vehicles and safety drivers.

Now, its delivery service in partnership with Kroger will be completely driverless and without a safety driver on board. Nuro has been working on this vehicle, the R1 since 2016.

“Nuro envisions a world without errands, where everything is on-demand and can be delivered affordably,” Nuro President Dave Ferguson said in a press release. “Operating a delivery service using our custom unmanned vehicles is an important first step toward that goal.”

Nuro’s intent is to use its self-driving technology in the last mile for the delivery of local goods and services. That could be things like groceries, dry cleaning, an item you left at a friend’s house or really anything within city limits that can fit inside one of Nuro’s vehicles. Nuro has two compartments that can fit up to six grocery bags each.

Farmstead is an ambitious grocery delivery startup with plans to defeat Instacart

The Y Combinator graduate has raised $2.2 million for its AI-powered Bay Area grocery delivery service.

In its 3,000-square-foot warehouse in San Francisco’s Mission District, Farmstead founders Pradeep Elankumaran and Kevin Li, a pair of former Yahoo product managers, plot the future of grocery shopping.

“Think of us as if Whole Foods was rebuilt from scratch by tech founders,” Elankumaran, Farmstead’s chief executive officer, told TechCrunch. “Of course we do delivery because it’s 2018 and no one wants to go to the store anymore.”

Elankumaran launched San Francisco-based Farmstead in 2016 after Amazon and Instacart’s food delivery services repeatedly disappointed him. The startup leverages artificial intelligence-powered predictive analytics and machine learning to accurately predict supply and demand of its inventory, a move Elankumaran says has helped the company significantly reduce waste, as well as complete deliveries to Bay Area residents in less than an hour.

“I had a lot of trouble getting food delivered consistently,” he said. “My daughter had just turned two and she started drinking a lot of milk and I found myself going to the grocery store three to four times a week to buy the same things.”

“So I posted on Nextdoor asking if anyone was interested in a milk, eggs and bread delivery service and in two days, 200 people said yes.”

Two-plus years later, the company is today announcing an additional seed round of $2.2 million, bringing its total raised to date to $7.5 million. ARTIS Labs, Resolute Ventures and Red Dog Capital participated in the round, along with Y Combinator . Farmstead completed the Silicon Valley accelerator program in 2016 shortly before its initial launch, similar to Instacart, which graduated from Y Combinator in 2012. Elankumaran said the company plans to use the capital to hire aggressively and expand beyond the Bay Area in 2019. 

Farmstead’s business may sound a lot like Instacart, a very well-funded grocery delivery service worth an astounding $7.6 billion, but the startup says the differences are notable. Instacart is a tech layer on top of a supermarket that provides delivery, whereas Farmstead is the supermarket and the delivery service. Elankumaran says this — storing groceries in large, centralized warehouses and making the deliveries — is a highly scalable model destined to defeat Instacart.

Resolute Ventures general partner Mike Hirshland said in a statement that Farmstead could “become a monster company.”

“To replace a trip to the grocery store, so many things have to go right, from ordering the right inventory to last-mile delivery. Farmstead has cracked the code on making grocery delivery profitable and rapidly scalable,” he said.

The company has also recently partnered with Udelv, an autonomous vehicle startup, to make deliveries via the company’s modified GEM eL XD electric trucks.

Prime members ordered 2 billion products for one-day or faster delivery this year

In Amazon’s year-end wrap-up released on Monday, the retailer offered details about its best-selling products of 2018, as well as a few new metrics related to its delivery business. The company said that Prime members worldwide this year ordered more than 2 billion products for one-day or faster delivery – the first time it’s shared […]

In Amazon’s year-end wrap-up released on Monday, the retailer offered details about its best-selling products of 2018, as well as a few new metrics related to its delivery business. The company said that Prime members worldwide this year ordered more than 2 billion products for one-day or faster delivery – the first time it’s shared numbers for faster-than-two-day delivery – and that more new members signed up for Prime in 2018 than in years prior.

That latter metric has been fairly consistent – Amazon said the same in its 2017 wrap-up, as well.

While the retailer had historically kept the number of Prime members under wraps, that changed this April when Amazon announced a milestone of passing 100 million Prime members worldwide, which it cited again today.

Amazon last year had also offered some figures related to its Prime shipping business, but had then focused on its two-day delivery service. In 2017, over 5 billion items were shipping with Prime worldwide.

It’s notable then, in the course of a year, that Prime’s one-day or faster shipping is now nearing half the size of Prime two-day.

However, Amazon did not say how many total Prime deliveries were made this year, nor did it break-out its two-day figures. (We’ve asked, and it declined to share those numbers.) Instead, it touted the expanded reach of its faster-than-two-day delivery offerings, including Prime Now (two-hour), Prime one-day, and Prime same-day.

It said that one-day and same-day delivery is now available across 8,000 cities and towns, while two-hour delivery now reaches over 30 major cities. The traditional Prime two-day shipping, meanwhile, is available across 100 million items, Amazon also said.

These are the same figures Amazon reported last year, we should note.

However, Amazon’s focus in 2018 was more so on its grocery delivery business via Whole Foods, which is now available in over 60 cities across the U.S. and still expanding. The top markets for Whole Foods delivery this year were Austin, San Francisco, and Boston, the retailer said.

Amazon detailed its top-sellers across product categories, too, and offered a few other figures related to its efforts in video, music, reading, and more.

Most notably, its investment in bringing NFL live streams to Prime Video reached 20 million total viewers across over 200 countries and all 50 U.S. states, across the 9 Thursday Night Football games. Last year, the 10 games it streamed reached 18 million viewers, so there’s been a slight increase here.

Its most-binged Prime Original series worldwide to date were Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan starring John Krasinski and Homecoming starring Julia Roberts.

It also said that its top-selling product in the U.S. was the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, followed by the Echo Dot. Both got a big bump thanks to Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday week discounts. The Dot was also the top seller during the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend.

 

Amazon closes its restaurant delivery service in London

Amazon is shutting down its two-year old restaurant delivery service in London, according to a report by the Evening Standard, which an Amazon spokesperson confirmed. Customers were sent emails which informed them of the change, saying they would no longer be able to order from Amazon Restaurants UK after Monday, December 3rd, the report said. […]

Amazon is shutting down its two-year old restaurant delivery service in London, according to a report by the Evening Standard, which an Amazon spokesperson confirmed. Customers were sent emails which informed them of the change, saying they would no longer be able to order from Amazon Restaurants UK after Monday, December 3rd, the report said.

The retailer first expanded its restaurant delivery service to London back in September 2016, after its initial launch Seattle, which was then followed by a number of other major U.S. markets. The service is a part of Prime Now, Amazon’s same-day delivery service, which in the U.S. allows consumers to shop Amazon, Whole Foods, and order from restaurants.

In the U.K., Amazon promised customers no menu markups on hidden service fees as well as free delivery for Prime members with a minimum order of £15.00. Amazon later added a £1.99 flat fee on orders, however. Amazon had also promised it would refund the difference between items ordered through Amazon and the current online price, if the restaurant lowered a menu item’s price within 24 hours of the original order.

The delivery service was first launched in postcodes in the central, east, north, and southeast of London, but later expanded across most of the city. It delivered food within an hour from over 200 restaurants.

In London, Amazon has faced fierce competition from local players, including Deliveroo and Uber Eats, the report noted. That may have contributed to its decision to shutter its business in that market.

Amazon confirmed the closure in a statement shared with the news outlet, which it also shared with us.

“We are closing Amazon Restaurants UK. We would like to thank all of our customers and merchants, and delivery partners for their support,” they said.

The service is still running in the U.S., and that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon. In fact, Amazon recently expanded its Seattle-based Daily Dish service in the U.S. to a new market, Austin, earlier this month. With Daily Dish, Amazon sends daily lunch specials to office workers, which they can order by replying to a text or using the Amazon or Prime Now mobile apps.

Target launches free, 2-day shipping with no minimum purchase requirement

Take that, Amazon and Walmart. Target has just come out swinging with news that it’s launching free, two-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items across its site without requiring a minimum purchase or an annual membership fee. This challenge to Amazon Prime comes at a time when Prime membership is at highest – Prime […]

Take that, Amazon and Walmart. Target has just come out swinging with news that it’s launching free, two-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items across its site without requiring a minimum purchase or an annual membership fee. This challenge to Amazon Prime comes at a time when Prime membership is at highest – Prime subscribers passed the 100 million milestone this April. But it also arrives at a time when Prime subscription prices are climbing and there’s an undercurrent of dissatisfaction over Prime’s 2-day deliveries that often turn into three days, four or more.

Unfortunately, however, Target’s free shipping is only a holiday perk, not a new policy. (At least, not yet.)

Target says it’s launching the free, two-day shipping on November 1, and will extend the offer throughout the holiday season, wrapping on December 22.

Before, this free shipping option was only available to Target REDcard holders, who also get an extra 5% off purchases. The offering for REDcard holders was announced in March, and required a minimum purchase of $35.

That’s the same minimum Walmart requires for its own, free, two-day shipping option launched last year. Walmart this week expanded that to its marketplace sellers, as well.

Target announced its news on Tuesday, adding that its new, two-day option exists alongside a host of ways to shop its stores.

In addition to ship-to-home delivery, it also now operates same-day delivery service Shipt, for groceries, gifts, decorations, and other household goods; Target Restock, for next-day delivery; same-day delivery from store in urban markets like Boston, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.; online order pickup; and Drive Up, for same-day order pick up.

The latter will be available at nearly 1,000 stores by the end of the month, it says, while Shipt is now available to millions of consumers across hundreds of markets in 46 U.S. states.

Target’s agenda to make a variety of easy and affordable ways to shop its stores and site have been paying off. During its most recent earnings, the retailer reported its web sales rose 41%, aided by slashing next-day delivery fees and the bump from Amazon’s Prime Day in July – a sales holiday that now helps all retailers running competing sales.

Target’s sales growth for the quarter was the best it had seen in 13 years, the company reported at the time.

 

Sam’s Club to offer same-day grocery delivery via Instacart at over half its stores by month end

Fresh off its $600 million round of new funding, grocery delivery service Instacart is expanding its relationship with Walmart, the companies announced this morning. The two first joined up in February to offer same-day grocery delivery at select Sam’s Clubs locations in the U.S. Today, Walmart says it plans to offer Instacart-powered grocery delivery in over half […]

Fresh off its $600 million round of new funding, grocery delivery service Instacart is expanding its relationship with Walmart, the companies announced this morning. The two first joined up in February to offer same-day grocery delivery at select Sam’s Clubs locations in the U.S. Today, Walmart says it plans to offer Instacart-powered grocery delivery in over half of Sam’s Clubs stores by the end of this month.

That expansion will make Sam’s Club grocery delivery via Instacart available to nearly 1,000 new ZIP codes and more than 100 new stores, including those in markets like New Jersey, Indianapolis, Houston and others, the company says.

In total, customers will be able to order from nearly 350 clubs by the end of October.

The partnership was first piloted in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and St. Louis, then reached San Diego and L.A. in more recent weeks.

The deal also allows consumers to shop Sam’s Clubs stores without a membership, including shopping its sales. However, Sam’s Club members will receive lower, membership-only pricing, Walmart says.

Deliveries are offered in as little as an hour, and may include non-grocery items, the retailer also notes.

“To help the holidays run smooth, we’re offering a wide product assortment available on Instacart so shoppers can now get household goods delivered,” said Sachin Padwal, Sam’s Club’s Vice President of Product Management, in a statement. “We’re excited that last-minute gifts, small appliances, extra pillows and towels – just to name a few things – are just a few clicks and minutes away,” he added.

The partnership between Sam’s Club and Instacart is significant in terms of Walmart’s larger battle with Amazon, which offers grocery pickup and delivery through its Whole Foods division, as well as grocery delivery through AmazonFresh and Prime Now.

Sam’s Club parent Walmart also offers an affordable curbside pickup program for groceries – which, unlike with third-party services, sells items at the same price as they are in stores. In select markets, Walmart offers grocery delivery, too.

In Walmart’s recent fiscal year 2020 guidance, it said that it expects to offer grocery pickup at 3,100 Walmart stores by 2020, and delivery at 1,600 locations. Currently, Walmart’s grocery delivery is on track to reach 100 U.S. metros by year-end.

Same-day delivery for Sam’s Club isn’t the only change Walmart’s warehouse membership club has made in recent months. Also in February, the club began to offer free shipping on orders, with no minimum purchase, and simplified memberships to two tiers, Savings ($45/year) and Plus ($100/year). Both of those options are cheaper than Amazon Prime, now $119/year.

Sam’s Club shoppers can visit samsclub.com/Instacart to see if their local store is supported.

Walmart to acquire Mexico & Chile-focused grocery delivery service Cornershop for $225M

Walmart is ramping up its grocery delivery business on the international stage with today’s announcement that it has acquired the crowdsourced, on-demand delivery marketplace Cornershop for $225 million. The rapidly growing service offers on-demand delivery from supermarkets, pharmacies and specialty food retailers in Mexico and Chile, which will continue following the deal’s close, Walmart says. […]

Walmart is ramping up its grocery delivery business on the international stage with today’s announcement that it has acquired the crowdsourced, on-demand delivery marketplace Cornershop for $225 million. The rapidly growing service offers on-demand delivery from supermarkets, pharmacies and specialty food retailers in Mexico and Chile, which will continue following the deal’s close, Walmart says.

Founded in 2015, Cornershop last year raised $21 million in a round led by Accel, according to Crunchbase, in order to expand its service in Latin America. At the time, CEO Oskar Hjertonsson credited Instacart’s success in the U.S. as inspiring enthusiasm for grocery delivery in other international markets, as well, saying ” I think Instacart can build a profitable business in the US, as can we down here.”

To date, it has raised $31.7 million, Crunchbase says. Other investors include ALLVP, Creandum, NMT Network, Jackson Square Ventures, and Endeavour Catalyst.

Similar to Instacart, Cornershop works with contractors who visit the stores to shop then deliver customers’ orders. However, it also lets you order from several stores – like grocers, speciality wine or meat shops, and others – in one order.

The service has been expanding its reach a fast pace, Walmart’s announcement points out. Over the past 12 months, it has seen the number of unique customers double.

Cornershop’s three founders, including CEO Oskar Hjertonsson; COO Daniel Undurraga, and CTO Juan Pablo Cuevas, and their teams, will continue to run the business following Walmart’s acquisition.

“We are focused on making life easier for customers and associates by building strong local businesses, powered by Walmart,” said Judith McKenna, president and CEO of Walmart International, in a statement.

“Cornershop’s digital expertise, technology and capabilities will strengthen our successful businesses in Mexico and Chile and provide learning for other markets in which we operate. This is an opportunity to leverage both of our brands, as well as Walmart’s strong supply chain and store network. Combining Cornershop’s innovative, crowdsourced delivery platform with Walmart’s unique assets will allow us to accelerate growth for both companies, delighting our customers by saving them both time and money. We are excited to welcome Cornershop to the Walmart family,” she added.

The acquisition is one of several investments Walmart has made in order to compete on grocery delivery in international markets.

The retailer just last month announced it co-led a $500 million investment in Chinese online grocery service Dada-JD Daojia, which is part-owned by JD. And in January, Walmart partnered with Rakuten on a wide-ranging partnership that includes grocery delivery in Japan as well as the sale of Rakuten e-readers, e-books and audiobooks in the U.S.

Walmart’s top rival Amazon has also been focused on international expansions of its grocery delivery business, with launches in markets like London, Berlin and Tokyo, for example. It’s also aiming to bring its online shop to more countries through international versions of its site, as well as acquisitions of its own. Last year, Amazon bought SOUQ to go after the Middle East, and today it says SOUQ shoppers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can now shop over 1 million products from Amazon’s Global Store.

Walmart says the Cornershop acquisition will be subject to regulatory approval and is expected by the end of the year.