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Walmart Continues to Advance its Businesses During the Pandemic

arranged blue grocery carts

Walmart has made several business moves recently that involve a delivery acquisition and a COVID-19 testing-related investment.

Walmart acquired select assets of JoyRun in a bid to incorporate its peer-to-peer food and drink delivery service into its own last-mile logistics, reported TechCrunch (Nov. 20).

Select assets include the talent, technology platform, and the IP. JoyRun’s service is a bit different than  standard delivery apps—such as Seamless and Uber Eats—and it has amassed a network of over 540 third-party merchant partners.

The app lets people find out who nearby is already going to a restaurant they like, then add on their own order. With the Walmart acquisition, the system would likely operate similarly to Amazon Flex, or a Uber/Lyft gig economy-style approach to delivery.

“This acquisition allows us to further augment our team and ongoing efforts to explore even more ways to deliver for customers in the future,” said Walmart EVP Srini Venkatesan. “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 expects the deal to close in the coming weeks and to incorporate JoyRun into its Supply Chain Technology team.

Meanwhile, the Walton family that controls Walmart  is among a group of investors backing a startup aiming to design at-home COVID-19 tests to sell for as little as $10 at the retail giant’s stores and elsewhere, reported The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 20).

NowDiagnostics has filed requests for emergency authorization from the FDA for a COVID-19 antibody blood test and is also developing two at-home tests, including an antigen test, that would use a patient’s saliva and deliver results in minutes. However, none of the tests have been authorized by the FDA for use.

Walmart has been working on broadening its health-care business in recent years. It has built a handful of clinics near or inside its stores that offer a range of services.

The company has hundreds of locations that currently offer COVID-19 testing from pharmacy windows or parking lots in partnership with federal and state governments, labs, and insurance companies.

In Cheektowaga, NY, and El Paso, TX, the chain is even using drones to deliver at-home coronavirus test kits to consumers, reported KTLA (Nov. 21). The company partnered with Quest Diagnostics and DroneUp to launch trial deliveries of the self-collection kits. Those looking to get a kit must live in a single-family home within a 1-mile radius of the designated Walmart superstore.

Drones drop off the kits, which would land on the driveway, front sidewalk or backyard of the customer’s home—and delivery is free.

“We hope drone delivery of self-collection kits will shape contactless testing capabilities on a larger scale and continue to bolster the innovative ways Walmart plans to use drone delivery in the future,” Walmart spokesman Tom Ward said.

Additionally, the company has been using drones to deliver certain grocery and other essential items from Walmart stores to people’s homes in Fayetteville, NC.