One month after Walmart Inc. set early morning hours once a week for seniors as COVID-19 took a toll on shopping habits, the world’s largest retailer is launching a daily pickup time reserved for the people who are most at-risk for the virus.
On Tuesday (April 14), the Arkansas retailer announced special store hours for grocery pickup at select locations for customers over 60. In addition, the service is available for first responders, handicapped persons and anyone designated high-risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Under the new plan, pickup will be available from 7 to 8 a.m. at 2,400 stores. When customers order online, they will see a prompt that shows the criteria for selecting the “at-risk only” timeframe. Walmart said purchase limits on certain items will apply for grocery pickup just as they do for in-store shoppers.
“Now more than ever, families are relying on our pickup service to help get quality, fresh groceries to their homes as safely as possible,” said Thomas Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president of customer product, in a statement. “These are extraordinary times, and we are constantly looking for ways we can help deliver that same peace of mind to all our customers, particularly those who are most at-risk.”
The pickup is contact-free to adhere to social distancing measures. Customers open their trunks and Walmart associates load the groceries. There is no need for a customer signature.
Walmart said the move is the latest step in supporting customers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, Dacona Smith, Walmart’s COO, announced special shopping hours for seniors on Tuesdays from 6 to 7 a.m. from March 24 through April 28. “We know our older customers could be more vulnerable to the coronavirus and to better support them, Walmart is offering special shopping hours,” he said in a statement.
Walmart serves more than 265 million customers annually in 11,500 stores in 27 countries, with more than 2.2 million associates worldwide. In the fiscal year 2020, its revenues totaled $524 billion.