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Amazon, Walmart are Upping their Delivery Games

Amazon and Walmart have developed last-mile delivery solutions to make shopping more convenient for consumers.

Amazon will buy 20,000 Mercedes-Benz vans to support its Delivery Service Partner program, reported The Post and Courier (Sept. 5). The vans will deliver everything the retailer offers, including groceries from Whole Foods Market, and meals from local restaurants.

The delivery program is recruiting small business owners who will work with third-party fleet management companies to lease customized vans as well as specialized leases to keep startup costs low as part of the retailer’s aim to assert more control over how its packages get from its warehouses to customers. One goal is to lessen Amazon’s reliance on outside transportation vendors, such as UPS, Fedex and the U.S. Postal Service.

While the plan was initially for 5,000 vans, Amazon received “tens of thousands” of applications for the delivery partnership, which prompted the company to increase its original Sprinter van order. The vehicles are expected to be built and on the road within a year, said Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations.

The new partnership program can help Amazon expand same-day deliveries and compete with brick-and-mortar retailers that offer curbside pick-up services for online orders, which is an area the company needs to improve, says Moody’s retail analyst Charlie O’Shea.

Walmart is branching out its delivery offerings with the launch of a last-mile grocery delivery pilot named Spark Delivery. The program, being tested in Nashville and

New Orleans, is being conducted in a partnership with Delivery Drivers Inc. The service uses an in-house platform that provides grocery delivery order details and navigation assistance to drivers, who can sign up for windows of time that work best for their schedule and are paid by the delivery.

“We’re saving customers time by leveraging new technology, and connecting all the parts of our business into a single seamless shopping experience,” says Greg Foran, Walmart U.S.’s president and CEO. “Spark Delivery is one way we’re exploring how to get quality groceries from our door to our customers’ doors.

For the program, Walmart, which already offers curb-side grocery pickup and same-day delivery, teamed with Bringg, a delivery logistics technology platform, in addition to Delivery Drivers. Delivery Drivers, which manages drivers’ recruiting and payment services, offers a contractor entrepreneurial program that helps drivers establish their own small businesses and run them effectively, said Aaron Hageman, the company’s CEO.

For the full story, go to this week’s Food Institute Report.