Walmart is ramping up its drone services, delivering diapers, Tylenol and Hamburger Helper from stores to customers’ doorsteps in as little as half an hour.
The drone initiative, started last year in the retailer’s home state of Arkansas, will now grow to five more states – Arizona, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia – and to four million households, the company said on Tuesday.
For a $3.99 delivery fee, customers can order 10 pounds worth of items that can arrive as quickly as 30 minutes after placing their order. Walmart says “tens of thousands” of items are eligible for drone delivery at some 34 stores between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
In November, Walmart began working with Zipline, a drone delivery company, to drop off packages within a 50 mile radius of its headquarters in Bentonville.
Now the largest retailer in the world has added another two companies, Flytrex and DroneUp, to deliver groceries and household items.
The Zipline packages drop from the drone with a parachute, while the DroneUp drones lower packages using a cable.
“While we initially thought customers would use the service for emergency items,” wrote David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation at Walmart’s US stores in a blog post, “we’re finding they use it for its sheer convenience, like a quick fix for a weeknight meal.”
Guggina said Hamburger Helper is its top selling item at one of its DroneUp hubs.
Walmart expects to deliver up to one million packages via drone by the end of the year, Guggina added.