Walmart Expanding Its Uber Delivery Program (Look Out, Amazon)

Walmart is rethinking the concept of grocery delivery — with a little help from its friends at Uber.

“We’re all about finding new ways for you to check ‘grocery shopping’ off your list a little faster — including making home delivery an option,” Mike Turner, Walmart’s vice president of eCommerce operations, wrote in a post on the company’s blog. “Hopefully, this expanded offering, and more like it, will speed up the shopping experience and give you back something just as precious as money — time.”

Walmart and Uber are taking on grocery delivery together — good news for Walmart as it continues its ongoing war with Amazon’s AmazonFresh for grocery dominance. Walmart, in essence, is able to use its massive network of stores (90 percent of America lives within 15 minutes of at least one Walmart) and tap Uber’s network of drivers to get that last mile of delivery down. Uber and its drivers also get a piece of the win here, as the move increases the utilization of that network.

Walmart’s online grocery service is up an running in six markets. In San Jose and Denver, Walmart has its own fleet of drivers to deliver groceries; in Phoenix, Tampa and now Orlando and Dallas, it uses Uber drivers (or will starting this week).

So what now?

According to reports, at this point it is all about the network — and who meets consumer preferences best.

Amazon has a great delivery network, but its avenues to provide fresh food into that aren’t so great. The Whole Foods takeover is seen as a method of addressing the situation.

Walmart, on the other hand, has the locations and the supply — it but doesn’t get close to Amazon’s delivery network for the last few miles to a customer’s home. Uber, in that regard, has already done pretty much all that work. It has all of the cars and drivers, and it would love to have something more to push through that network.

So, how will it all work out?  Stay tuned — the battle of the network stars is just about to get started.