Walmart to Buy JoyRun Assets to Enhance Last-mile Deliveries

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Since the coronavirus outbreak, the food delivery channels have seen a shift in the customer’s order decisions. Our reliance on digital technology has further paved the way for online delivery methods. And with the holiday season coming in, these consumers are likely to add more demands for online shopping. The online orders will also see an extra rise in the areas where the virus cases are high. Hence, going forward, the focus will be on delivering on-the-ground great customer service. As such, Walmart has decided to purchase select assets of JoyRun to enhance its supply chain. This acquisition comes as retailers globally continue to add grocery e-commerce capacity. The assets include the company talent, technology platform, and IP. The deal will incorporate JoyRun’s peer-to-peer food and drink delivery service into Walmart’s last-mile logistics.

In a field which is dominated by Amazon Restaurants, Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, and Waitr, Joyrun works differently by enabling users to pick up and deliver items for friends and neighbors. It is used as a last-mile delivery platform by over 500 companies with over 30,000 people serving as ‘runners’. These runners can either charge a fee for the service or can do it as a favor. They even have the option to waive their fee for specific community members.

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Walmart EVP Srini Venkatesan notes that JoyRun has a network of 540 third-party merchant partners and north of 30,000 people who have delivered goods with the service since its launch in 2015. He says, “This acquisition allows us to further augment our team and ongoing efforts to explore even more ways to deliver for customers in the future. For instance, Runners could complement our SPARK program and 3rd Party delivery providers. Our goal is to deliver as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Walmart has previously worked with third-party companies such as Roadie, Skipcart, and Instacart. It has also been developing its own in-house demand Spark Delivery program.

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Walmart has also shown quite an interest in autonomous vehicle delivery. In 2019, the retailer reached an agreement with startup Udelv to test the usage of autonomous vans to supply online grocery orders to consumers in Surprise, Arizona. The last year also marks Walmart’s venture into AV startup Gatik to carry orders from Walmart’s main warehouse to its neighboring shops in Bentonville, Arkansas. And this month, the retail giant teamed up with Cruise to pilot an all-electric self-delivery system.

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