Free curbside pickup at Walmart is expanding into eight new cities by the end of the month, said Walmart Head of eCommerce Operations Michael Bender, according to Reuters.
The new growth, which also includes stores located in markets where the program already exists, will expand the program to about 200 stores nationwide and its footprint to about 30 cities.
Bender further noted that Walmart's expansion plans do not end at this move.
"The data we’ve collected gives us confidence that, with existing customers, we are getting a larger share of their wallet and that's complemented by new customers we are bringing into the fold," he said. "There will be more, so stay tuned."
Walmart is, of course, not alone in trying to crack the code on getting groceries into the hands of the average consumer quickly and cheaply. Amazon offers free same-day delivery in some markets, while the Kroger family of grocery stores has free pickup at 47 locations in the Harris Teeter chain. Walmart's curbside is free, however; Kroger charges $5 an order after the first three.
The great curbside rollout at Walmart will be hitting Boise, Idaho; Richmond and Virginia Beach, Virginia; Provo, Utah; Daphne, Alabama; and Charleston, South Carolina (in addition to Austin and Kansas City in Texas and Missouri, respectively).
Walmart's variation on curbside will give consumers around 35,000 items to choose from — comparable with in-store selection. After orders are placed online, the customer then meets with their personal shopper at Walmart at a scheduled time
Those personal shoppers are a new addition, and they are there to, theoretically at least, bring personalization by not just grabbing the items but the version of the items that customers actually want (green bananas versus extremely ripe ones, for example).
The recent push is part of Walmart's overall eCommerce play, which has seen the world's former largest retailer beef up its eCommerce investment by $2.7 billion in the last two years.