Walmart Canada Launches Virtual C-Store

The retail giant has partnered with Instacart on 30-minute delivery of 4,000 items.

June 28, 2022

Walmart Canada

MISSISSAUGA, ON, CANADA—Walmart Canada is piloting a virtual convenience store for customers in the Greater Toronto Area, according to a news release. The program is called Walmart Now, and orders will be received in as fast as 30 minutes, powered through Instacart and facilitated directly through existing Walmart stores.

“It’s the latest example of how Walmart is unlocking its stores’ capabilities and leveraging its existing footprint to enhance its omnichannel experience for customers and provide more choice,” Walmart said the release.

Walmart says the partnership with Instacart allows the convenience option to be available to 40% of Greater Toronto Area households. Nearly 4,000 of Walmart’s most-shopped items will be available to customers through Walmart Now, allowing customers to pick up or have their items delivered from 10 existing Walmart locations.

“Launching Walmart Now, our new Canadian convenience offering featuring our quickest delivery speeds, is proof that Walmart Canada is here to drive change in the e-commerce space,” said Laurent Duray, chief eCommerce officer, Walmart Canada. “We’re nimble, we’re determined and we’re here to change the way Canadians shop online with Walmart. Piloting 30-minute delivery is a milestone in our roadmap to making it faster, easier and more convenient than ever to shop with us.”

Earlier this month, Instacart announced it has overhauled its subscription service program Instacart Express, renaming it Instacart+ and offering subscribers free delivery, credit back, reduced service fees and the ability to share their subscription. The company said that on average Instacart subscribers spent nearly two times more each month compared to nonsubscribers in 2021.

“With today’s launch, we’re making Instacart+ the most cost-effective way for families to buy groceries and essentials with Instacart, delivered in as fast as 30 minutes,” said Daniel Danker, head of product at Instacart.

In the U.S., Instacart is competing with Amazon Prime, Walmart+ and Target’s Shipt Everyday subscription programs, among many others, with Amazon Prime being the most popular. Over half of U.S. households subscribe to Amazon Prime, which is six times more than Walmart+.

The majority of consumers subscribe to just one retail membership program—80% of households that Numerator surveyed subscribe to one program, 13.8% subscribe to two programs, 3.7% subscribe to three and 2.5% subscribe to four or more. Multiprogram subscribers are more likely to be affluent, ethnically diverse and values driven. They are more likely to be Black or Hispanic/Latino, from larger households, buy on impulse, and are more aware of the corporate values behind the products they buy.

According to NACS’ “Last Mile Fulfillment in Convenience Retail” report, 61% of retailers are satisfied with their third-party delivery partners. Concerns include high fees, little access to consumer data, difficulties delivering age-restricted products and service and operational issues. Read more about these challenges and what c-stores are doing to make delivery work for their businesses in “Delivering Convenience” in the December 2021 issue of NACS Magazine.