Walmart Partnering with Waymo for Grocery Pickup Services
GEORGIA – August 11, 2018 (fool.com) Walmart is partnering with autonomous vehicle company Waymo for grocery pickup services, according to an online news report from fool.com.
Waymo is owned by Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, and has been testing its autonomous vehicles around the country. At the same time, Walmart has been racing to find a way to keep pace with Amazon and other companies offering grocery delivery. The retail giant has tested services like Deliv, Postmates, and DoorDash and recently wrapped up a trial with Uber and Lyft for grocery delivery. So far, it hasn’t found a method that works well for the company and for customers.
But Walmart is pushing forward, currently in the middle of another experiment in Georgia, in which it has hired a handful of employees to delivery groceries using their own cars. It is also partnering with Waymo to launch a grocery pickup service. Instead of delivery groceries to customers, the Waymo vehicles will pick up customers while their orders are being prepared in-store, take them to the store to pick everything up, then take them home.
Critics see a couple big issues with the Waymo partnership: First, the vehicles are not delivery to people’s doors, which cuts out a lot of the convenience people receive from companies like Amazon. If people still have to go to the store, why wouldn’t they drive their own cars, or opt to use a service that will directly deliver?
Second, in a recent study conducted by the American Automobile Association, 73 percent of participants said they are fearful about riding in self-driving vehicles. This represents a growing mistrust of autonomous vehicles — up 10 percent from a survey conducted last year.
Whether Walmart will finally find a winning option in the Waymo partnership remains to be seen.
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