Retail

Walmart Pilots Food Stamps Program For Online Groceries

Walmart is expanding its Online Grocery Pickup to more people, rolling out an option that enables customers to use their EBT card (which conveys SNAP benefits to welfare recipients) benefits for its service and pay when they pick up their food.

In a company press release, the retailer said its Online Grocery Pickup service should be available to everyone. The feature is currently being tested in one store in the Houston area and four Walmart locations around Boise. The store plans to bring the offering to more markets through the holiday season and beyond, it said in a press release on Tuesday (Sept. 19).

“Access and convenience have long been a part of who we are,” said the press release. “Our company was founded on the principle of bringing affordable goods to people, and since opening that first Walmart store more than 50 years ago, we’ve been relentless in reimagining the way people shop. Convenience shouldn’t be dictated by the way you pay. Your to-do list continues to grow, so ours does too. We’re committed to bringing you options that let you take charge of your time.”

The move on the part of Walmart comes as it plays catch-up to online groceries rival Amazon, which got even stronger at the end of August when it closed on its acquisition of Whole Foods Market, the organic supermarket chain.

As PYMNTS’ Karen Webster pointed out, Amazon caught the retail world off guard with the deal, taking the element of surprise to a new level in grocery retail. “A surprise because Amazon has never acquired anything that costs more than $1 billion. A surprise because Amazon has always used digital tools and technologies to crush existing brick-and-mortar retail and shift those sales to digital channels. A surprise because no one ever expected Amazon to buy a beleaguered 431-store brick-and-mortar grocery store chain whose sales per square foot were second only to Costco in 2015, but with a business model that’s now under attack from competitors who’ve taken a bite out of their once strong but very pricey organic food foothold,” wrote Webster back in June.

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