April 25, 2011, 1:42 PM

Walmart.com tests selling groceries online

Walmart To Go delivers fresh produce and other groceries to consumers in Silicon Valley.

Lead Photo

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, has begun testing home delivery of online orders of groceries, including fresh produce, meat, seafood, frozen goods, alcoholic beverages, household supplies, over-the-counter pharmacy items, and health and beauty products—all picked, packed and shipped from a Wal-Mart store, the company says.

Wal-Mart, No. 6 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is testing the Walmart To Go grocery home delivery service through stores in San Jose, CA, a spokesman says. He declines to say what other markets Wal-Mart may test for home delivery. The retailer is charging a base delivery fee of $5, though the fee may be higher depending on the day or time of delivery.

Wal-Mart is not new to home delivery of groceries, but in the past has limited delivery to packaged goods, not perishable items like meat and produce. In addition to Walmart To Go, the multichannel retailer offers national delivery of a limited number of packaged goods, such as breakfast cereals, snacks and candy, that shoppers can order online to have shipped from warehouses or drop shippers. And Wal-Mart’s ASDA supermarket chain in the United Kingdom provides home delivery of online grocery orders, including fresh produce.

A new Walmart To Go section on Walmart.com lets a shopper enter his ZIP code to see if Wal-Mart offers delivery of online grocery orders in his area. The section also provides online shopping tools including ready-made lists of commonly purchased items, to which a shopper can add additional items, and a “My Favorites” feature that lets a shopper quickly re-order everyday items.

Walmart To Go is accepting only credit cards for online payment. “We cannot accept other forms of payment at this time,” the retailer says in its Walmart To Go online information section.

The retailer adds that online shoppers can choose and book a delivery time up to three weeks in advance of delivery, and notes that “same-day delivery is not available at this time.” The service requires receipt of the home delivery by someone at least 18 years old, or 21 for deliveries including alcoholic beverages.

Wal-Mart owns the trucks used in the delivery service but is outsourcing their operation to a delivery service, the spokesman says.

The launch of the grocery delivery service follows recent moves by Wal-Mart to integrate its stores and Internet operations. Last week, the retailer announced the formation of @WalmartLabs, a technology group charged with integrating Wal-Mart’s stores and its mobile commerce channels. Wal-Mart also said it would buy Kosmix Corp., a company whose technology uses online social data to personalize online shopping content. Wal-Mart says social and mobile applications are become more important to its offline as well as online retail operations.

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