The online grocery wars continue. Amazon this week just made grocery delivery free, so Walmart is now touting how its grocery service offers the booze. The retailer today announced a new milestone in terms of giving its customers the ability to shop for alcohol online, noting that more than 2,000 Walmart locations across 29 states will now let you pick up wine and beer along with your other grocery purchases.
The alcohol pickup service has to abide by local laws, which limits its expansion in some cases.
In addition, Walmart says that now more than 200 stores in California and Florida are also offering alcohol delivery. It plans expansions on this front, as well.
Walmart has been slowly ramping up its online alcohol shopping options for some time, in accordance with local, county and state regulations. Its Sam’s Club subsidiary has offered this option, too, by way of Instacart. In the latter case, Sam’s Club has been able to offer delivery of spirits, like Tito’s vodka or those from Sam’s Club’s own “Member’s Mark” brand, among others.
Today, there are a number of ways to shop alcohol online, depending on where you live.
Target-owned Shipt delivers alcohol from some of its supported retailers (including Target) in some markets. Instacart, BJ’s and Amazon (Prime Now) do as well, in select cities, states and stores. And finally, services like Drizly, Saucey, Postmates and Uber Eats can help fill in the gaps, in some markets.
The problem with all these services is that consumers often don’t know which retailers offer alcohol delivery, or which app they should use. If you live in a more permissive state, this may not be as big of a problem — you’ll likely encounter an abundance of choices for same-day alcohol delivery. But in a more conservative state, your options may be more limited — or not available at all. And when consumers have to launch a half dozen apps just to figure out how to order booze online, most people will just give up and drive to the store.
That’s in conflict with Walmart’s larger goal, which is to allow shoppers to take advantage of its online grocery shopping to fully replace the traditional grocery shopping trip to the store. After all, if consumers are driving to the store, they’ll likely choose their local grocer, not necessarily Walmart.
To meet the needs of the online shopper, Walmart Grocery has to offer it all — not just food, but also adult beverages. If successful on speeding this option to market, Walmart’s brand could become known as the place to order online everything you need from the grocery store. And that, in turn, could help boost sales.
Walmart’s alcohol shopping feature works just like shopping for groceries — you search for what you want, add it to the cart, then check out. The only difference is that, upon pickup or delivery, you’ll be required to show your ID so the Walmart team member can verify your age.
Alcohol pickup is available in big states like California, Florida and Texas, and dozens of others, while delivery is limited to the first two states, for the time being.
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