Today, Walmart Canada began offering a grocery pickup service for online purchases at 6 store locations in the Ottawa-area. Another five Ottawa-area locations will begin offering the service on July 21, as reported by the Globe and Mail (July 3).
The minimum order for the service is $50 and there is a $3 fee to use the service (see above screenshot).
Ottawa is Walmart's first Canadian test city for online grocery pickup.
Walmart has been testing online grocery services (both pickup and delivery) in a number of U.S. cities for some time now. According to TechCrunch (Feb 12), existing test cities include: San Jose, Denver, Phoenix, Bentonville, Ark., and Huntsville, Ala.
Marketing Magazine's Rebecca Harris spoke with Simon Rodrigue, Walmart Canada's Senior VP of E-Commerce, about the new online grocery pickup service in Ottawa. Some highlights below:
- The motivation behind launching it? "It was really meant to focus on (customers already using our existing e-commerce, but wanting access to fresh foods as well) and allow them to save time and get access to great Walmart pricing."
- Why Ottawa? "There were a couple of reasons. First is Ottawa has always been a good customer for us. We look at our online initiatives and what we’re selling into this market and it’s a very strong online market. When you look at the demographics, there’s a large student population with the two universities, there’s a strong high-tech sector, and demographically, there are also a lot of young families. So, we believe that the service will play very well in the market."
Walmart is training associates to act as dedicated grocery shoppers, picking the perfect avocado, marbled meat, ripe bananas, etc.
- Surveys have shown consumers to be reluctant to buy groceries online due to perceived freshness issues. Is this a big challenge? "I absolutely think it's a challenge... One of the things we’ve done with the Ottawa launch is make sure we understand how to get the perfect order every time. For the last few weeks, we’ve trained [a group of associates] as dedicated shoppers, so they understand how to pick that perfect avocado, the marbling in meat, what a ripe banana is… On top of that, we give the customer the opportunity to review any of the products they may be apprehensive about, and if there is an issue, we correct it right there."