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Online Shopping 2.0: Drones to deliver orders in as little as 30 minutes

REACH eCommerce Consulting, Established in 2022

Online shopping has drastically changed over the last few years thanks to consumer expectations and technology. The days when you had to wait patiently for days, if not weeks, for your order to be delivered are long gone. An average delivery of 2-3 days is probably the least an eCommerce business can offer nowadays. In recent years, big retailers like Amazon have been leading the way with next day delivery services for their customers. In some locations, Amazon has even tested and launched same day delivery, which sees customers receiving their orders in as little as a couple of hours. Other retailers have followed suit to remain competitive but how can you top that, you might wonder? Walmart just announced the expansion of its drone delivery program in partnership with DroneUp.

Fast, Faster, Walmart...

Five years ago, Walmart expressed their interest in drone delivery. Now, after several pilot projects and a small scale live project, Walmart recently announced the expansion of its program to bring the convenience of drone delivery to up to 4 million US households across 6 States (Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia).

How does it work?

Consumers will be able to order from an assortment of tens of thousands of products and get their order delivered within 30 minutes via a drone. This incredibly fast and convenient service is available between 8am and 8pm every day and costs $3.99. Orders are limited to a maximum weight of 10 pounds to ensure safe flying conditions. As part of the program, Walmart will install DroneUp delivery hubs in participating stores, from where certified pilots will operate within FAA guidelines. In a nutshell, the process couldn't be any more convenient. When an order is placed, Walmart picks and packs the order, loads it into the drone and delivers it to your home using a cable to gently lower the box to the ground upon arrival.

Emergency items vs sheer convenience

Walmart initially designed the program to be able to deliver products to their customers when they need them, especially in cases of emergency. However, after the first few hundreds of deliveries were successfully made, it has become clear that consumers use the service more for sheer convenience. After a long day at work, you come home to an empty fridge and don't want to resort to fast food. We've all been there! Walmart's customers seem to use the drone delivery service most frequently for a quick grocery shop for a weeknight meal or for a spontaneous BBQ when the weather is unexpectedly nice. This was supported by the overwhelmingly positive feedback on the convenience aspect of the program by participating customers.

What's next?

Walmart's intentions for its drone program go far beyond product deliveries. The partnership with DroneUp also aims to provide added value to the community. The drones can, for example, deliver aerial photography of construction sites to monitor progress, capture real estate developments from above and support local emergency response. The opportunities seem almost endless and there are certainly some exciting projects in the pipeline.

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