Reuters, citing two sources, reported that Walmart confirmed the partnerships have ended, but the company wouldn’t provide details as to why. Spokesperson Molly Blakeman would only say Walmart will use other delivery service providers in the four markets where it had been using Uber to deliver groceries.
“Customers shouldn’t notice any difference as the transition takes place,” said Blakeman, adding that the partnership with Lyft never went further than the initial test market of Denver and that the move won’t impact Walmart’s plan to boost its grocery delivery operations, since the company isn’t contingent on any one delivery provider.
The end of the partnerships with Uber and Lyft hurts the ride-hailing companies’ vision to provide efficient delivery of anything on demand, whether it’s a person or cargo.
“It is incredibly hard to deliver people and packages together,” said a source with a delivery company that works with Walmart and has direct knowledge of the matter, reported Reuters. “They are two completely different business models.”
The deal between Walmart and Uber was announced less than two years ago and was even touted at Walmart’s shareholder meeting in June of 2016, noted Reuters. In March, Walmart even said Uber was one of its partners that would help it deliver groceries to greater than 40 percent of the country. Walmart also counts Deliv, Postmates and DoorDash as delivery partners, with most of them focused singularly on delivering goods and with drivers who have more experience transporting perishables without damaging them.
In April, Uber announced that UberRUSH, the delivery package service for merchants operating in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago, was shutting down, according to news from TechCrunch at the time. The report, citing an email to customers, said Uber would be shuttering RUSH operations on June 30, 2018.
“At Uber, we believe in making big, bold bets, and while ending UberRUSH comes with some sadness, we will continue our mission of building reliable technology that serves people and cities all over the world,” Uber’s NYC RUSH team wrote to customers. In a subsequent email to TechCrunch, the ride-hailing startup confirmed the service would be shutting down. “We’re thankful for our partners and hope the next three months will allow them to make arrangements for their delivery needs. We’re already applying a lot of the lessons we learned together to our Uber Eats food delivery business in over 200 global markets across more than 100,000 restaurants.”