Walmart expands online grocery sales to 8 new markets

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has been testing online grocery sales and will now expand to eight new markets.

It's a rapid rollout of a program that Walmart has been testing in various forms and markets for the past year that lets shoppers buy online and pick up in stores (BOPIS).

New markets include Atlanta; Charlotte and Fayetteville, North Carolina; Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah; Nashville; Tucson, Arizona; and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In early September, the retailer added dozens of pickup locations at supercenters and Neighborhood markets around Phoenix, Denver and Huntsville, Alabama. It then added several more around its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters. The service debuted in Canada this summer. Walmart will add more markets in the coming weeks.

Full Walmart online grocery shopping infographic

Shoppers can order online and select a pickup time at the desired store. Then, they are directed to a designated location in the selected store's parking lot to collect the order without leaving their car.

Grocery BOPIS is separate from Walmart's other tests, including one in Colorado that lets shoppers buy online and pick up at a location unattached to a Walmart store. The company has also operated a grocery pickup test in Bentonville as a separate program since September 2014. That facility, which resembles a bank drive-thru, lets shoppers pre-order and select a pickup time, then drive to the facility. Once there, shoppers check in at mobile kiosk, proceed to an assigned parking slot, and receive their order. 

Retailers are quickly expanding tests, making online grocery buying easier as BOPIS grows in popularity. Last week Kohl's made BOPIS more readily available while everyone from Target to Best Buy to Ace Hardware are adding the service in some form. Grocery sales add a level of complexity with the need to refrigerate or freeze some items, but also represents a big opportunity for retailers.

For more:
-See this Walmart blog post

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