Walmart Canada opens a virtual convenience store

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The Canadian subsidiary of Walmart is developing a partnership with a well-known online delivery platform.

Walmart Canada is testing Walmart Now, the first virtual convenience store available in Canada, in the Greater Toronto Area. Walmart Now offers an assortment of nearly 4,000 items including basic apparel, toys, personal care and home care products, selected and delivered from 10 existing Walmart Canada locations in as little as 30 minutes via Instacart.

Instacart uses Carrot Storefront, its end-to-end white label e-commerce solution, in addition to the Instacart app, to support Walmart now. The Walmart Now virtual storefront is available on the Instacart website and app.

Walmart Canada started working with Instacart in 2018 and already offers customers delivery in as little as an hour from more than 250 locations across Canada through the Instacart app and its e-commerce site.

Walmart Now isn’t Walmart Canada’s first effort to leverage its physical store infrastructure to support a virtual business. In March 2021, the retailer ppartners with the scalable “ghost kitchen” platform (the popular term for a digital kitchen that only handles digital food orders) Ghost Kitchen Brands to offer one-stop meal pickup and delivery.

Customers can order freshly prepared meals in-store and online for contactless pickup or delivery from a third-party app like Uber Eats, and mix and match from a variety of third-party foodservice brands. All meals are prepared in a kitchen for pickup or delivery.

Meanwhile, the concept of virtual convenience store is also gaining popularity. In September 2021, Instacart introduced the Instacart Convenience Center. Customers in nearly every major US city can use the Instacart Convenience Hub to shop for convenience products 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with free 30-minute priority shipping for Instacart Express members on orders over $10. This followed the launch of the DoorDash DashMart online convenience store showcase. Introduced in August 2020, the DashMart banner offers both household essentials and local catering products for on-demand delivery.

“The launch of Walmart Now, our new Canadian convenience offering with our fastest shipping speeds, is proof that Walmart Canada is here to drive change in the e-commerce space,” said Laurent Duray, Chief e-commerce, Walmart Canada. “We’re nimble, we’re purposeful, and we’re here to change the way Canadians shop online with Walmart. Piloting 30-minute delivery is an important step in our roadmap to make it faster, easier and more convenient than ever to shop with us.

“We are proud to develop our relationship with Walmart Canada to launch Walmart Now – a streamlined way for Canadian customers to access the groceries and products they need at Walmart in as little as 30 minutes,” said Chris Rogers, Vice President of Commerce retail at Instacart. “Customers today expect convenience and fast delivery coupled with a wide selection. We know these components are fundamental as retailers seek to create the best online grocery experience for their customers. By collaborating with leading retailers like Walmart and providing purpose-built Instacart Platform solutions for grocery, we make it easier for retailers to offer customers exactly what they need, when they need it.

Walmart Canada operates over 400 stores across Canada.

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