Walmart Steps Up Their Delivery Game

Did you realize that the majority of Dashers are women? Also, did you know that Walmart is trying to compete with Uber and DoorDash in the delivery field? Let’s dive into all this and more with senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins as she wades through this week’s rideshare news.

Walmart To Compete With Uber & DoorDash, Will Launch Delivery Service For Other Businesses (CBS Local)

Summary: Walmart is commercializing its delivery service, using contract workers, autonomous vehicles and even drones to deliver other retailers’ products directly to customers’ homes.

The Arkansas-based retailer launched delivery and Express delivery for its shoppers three years ago on more than 160,000 items from more than 3,000 stores. The nation’s largest retailer aims to tap into its ties with local communities, particularly businesses in rural areas that have struggled to implement their own delivery operations.

The strategy announced August 24 will pit Walmart against the likes of Uber, DoorDash and other delivery services. It comes as Walmart moves to expand its sources of profits and revenues beyond its core retail businesses….

My Take: Walmart has always been a big contender when it comes to retail. But delivery? More importantly…providing delivery services for other businesses?

I suppose one thing they have going for them is their name. Everyone knows Walmart, and since they are known for low prices, perhaps that will be a draw to small and medium businesses. If Walmart can offer similar services at a lower cost (these are just conjectures, the costs were not announced) that could give them a leg up.

Businesses are often looking for ways to save money. Whether Walmart is taking that angle or not is to be determined, but even without announcing anything as such, they have the reputation for that already in their back pocket. It wouldn’t be a large leap to assume the same for this service.

And, best of all for Walmart, they can bank on loyalty. There are people that are extremely loyal to Walmart over other retailers. Loyalty can stretch pretty far when branching into other avenues.

Waymo starts offering autonomous rides in San Francisco (The Verge)

Summary: Waymo is going to start shuttling a wider group of passengers around in its autonomous vehicles in San Francisco, California — though they’ll have to sign nondisclosure agreements, and there still will be a human safety driver behind the wheel.

It’s the second city where the company has expanded its nascent autonomous vehicle offering, as the Google sibling has been performing fully driverless rides rides without a safety driver in parts of Phoenix, Arizona for more than a year now. Waymo is one of a handful of companies trying to get a commercial service off the ground built around autonomous vehicles, like Argo AI (which is backed by Ford and Volkswagen) and Cruise (which is backed by General Motors).

Waymo has been testing self-driving cars in San Francisco for a decade, dating back to when it was still just a quirky-looking project inside Google. And it has let some Waymo employees ride in the early version of the commercial AV program in San Francisco. But now people can apply through the Waymo One smartphone app to take part in what it’s calling the “Trusted Tester” program, which is basically a rebranding of the “Early Rider” program it ran in Phoenix. (Waymo says the Early Rider program in Phoenix will also take on the new name.)…

My Take: Slowly but surely, the autonomous vehicles are taking over. Obviously, I think it’s going to be a decently long time before it really becomes a “real thing”. But with Waymo edging their way out of Arizona (not leaving, but expanding) and branching out into San Francisco, the home turf of Uber and Lyft, it speaks volumes.

These autonomous vehicle companies are becoming more and more confident in their ventures. It also doesn’t hurt that companies like Ford, Volkswagen and General Motors are coming on board and allowing their vehicles to be guinea pigs.

Nuro is building a factory and test track in Nevada for its autonomous delivery robots (The Verge)

Summary: Nuro, the autonomous delivery startup founded by two ex-Google engineers, announced a dramatic expansion of its physical footprint. The company said it will spend $40 million on the construction of a manufacturing facility and test track for its fleet of self-driving robot vehicles. Both facilities will be located in Southern Nevada, which in recent years has become a hotbed for manufacturing and testing for the future of transportation.

Nuro, which is valued at $5 billion, was founded in 2016 by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, two veterans of the Google self-driving car project that would go on to become Waymo. It is one of the few companies to be operating fully driverless vehicles — that is, vehicles without safety drivers behind the wheel — on public roads today. Its R2 vehicle is about half as wide as a compact sedan, shorter than most cars, and there’s no room inside for human passengers or drivers.

The R2 is an updated version of Nuro’s original R1 prototype, with around 50 percent more capacity (which translates into about 18 more grocery bags). The company plans on producing its third-generation vehicle at its Nevada facility once it is fully operational in 2022….

My Take: Here’s another autonomous vehicle update. This one is geared toward deliveries instead of ridesharing. It seems like in the weeks that one company announces something to do with autonomous vehicles, others jump on board and share something as well. This is one of those weeks.

This is still in the very beginning testing stages and not as well established as Waymo, but it’s getting there. Keep your eyes open for autonomous deliveries!

A Majority of Dashers Are Women. Here’s Why They Choose DoorDash. (DoorDash)

Summary: Since the pandemic began, millions of women have left the traditional workforce. When unemployment skyrocketed, many needed ways to earn that allow them to set their own schedules, often working around jobs or caring for children, parents, and other loved ones. We’re proud that at a time when flexible earning opportunities were more important than ever, so many women turned to DoorDash and found value delivering on our platform.

We recently shared the results of our national Dasher survey, and given the influx of women to our platform – who now make up 58% of Dashers – we wanted to understand more fully what brings women to our platform and how they’re using their earnings.

“As a new mother of two, family is everything to me,” said Elashane Harris, a Dasher in Seattle, WA. “And after being diagnosed with postpartum depression last year, I wasn’t in the headspace to be my best self to my children. That’s when a friend suggested I sign up to become a Dasher. Dashing has allowed me to get out of my house on my own schedule, and encouraged me to connect with people — especially other parents — in my community, and helped me get back on my feet when I needed it most. DoorDash has been a lifesaver for me over the past year — it’s been an incredible way to meet my neighbors, get paid on flexible hours, and become the best version of myself for my children.”…

My Take: This actually surprises me a bit, but mostly because the majority of delivery drivers I’ve had are men. It’s actually pretty rare for me to have a female Dasher drop off my food. But maybe that’s more localized to where I live and not indicative of the whole.

The reasons outlined in the article make sense. It’s nothing surprising. They are the same reasons most people decide to do rideshare or delivery—flexibility, make up for lost income, side gig, etc.

What’s your experience? Have you had mainly male or female Dashers when you order delivery?

Oscar Mayer and Lyft Team up to Give Fans Unexpected Rides in the Iconic Wienermobile (Business Wire)

Summary: The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile has been an Airbnb, a setting for a marriage proposal, traveled to Alaska via barge and the reason for joy in all 50 states, but never has it been available on a rideshare app … until now.

The iconic meat brand and Lyft are teaming up to spark miles of smiles by surprising lucky Lyft XL riders with free Wienermobile trips in some of the nation’s hottest rideshare cities.

Lyft passengers in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta who call a Lyft XL may be surprised with a once-in-a-lifetime pick-up from the hottest wheels in town: the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

“Oscar Mayer has a legacy of elevating enjoyment from people’s plates into pop culture – from our 27-foot long Wienermobile, to the iconic Weenie Whistle, to the famed ‘Oh I wish jingle’, said Megan Lang, Associate Marketing Director, Oscar Mayer. “With the world as our canvas and meat as our medium, we want to do all we can to spark unexpected smiles wherever we go.”…

My Take: Ending on a light note today. I’ve never been an Oscar Mayer fan to begin with, so it wouldn’t be a dream come true or anything for the Wienermobile to show up for my Lyft trip. BUT, it would certainly be a memorable experience.

Would you be excited if the Wienermobile showed up at your door when you ordered a Lyft XL? Or would it be a nuisance because you wouldn’t be certain you’d get where you need to go on time?

-Paula @ RSG