Walmart was the first of the big retailers in the US to implement drone delivery. Operated by drone services providers including DroneUp, Flytrex, and Zipline, Walmart currently has drone delivery “hubs” in 36 stores located across 7 states. In 2022, the company executed more than 6,000 drone deliveries, which are executed in 30 minutes or less. While more than 20,000 items are offered for drone delivery service – and Walmart says that 85% of the products found at a Neighborhood Market meet the weight (10 pounds) and volume requirements to qualify.
Drone delivery in general has met with positive response in the communities that have access. After the initial novelty wears off, customers just want easy and convenient delivery to their doorsteps. But what exactly are the top items ordered for drone delivery?
Walmart says 5 customer favorites are:
- Great Value Cookies and Cream ice cream
- 2-lb bags of lemons
- Rotisserie Chicken
- Red Bull
- Bounty Paper Towels
The drone delivery ecosystem is developing rapidly, and major service providers are establishing the standards for operations that may become as common as services like Uber Eats or GrubHub. The complex framework of regulations, hardware, software, pilot networks and licensing, ground and packaging infrastructure, communications technology, and inventory has reached a level of maturity that allowed wider implementations for Walmart in 2022 and put Amazon’s drones in the air in two test communities. 2023 could be the year that retail drone delivery moves out of the test case scenario and becomes fully integrated into the systems of last mile logistics.
Ordering items for drone delivery is easy for consumers already accustomed to digital purchases.For Walmart, customers order items on an app – and for a minimal delivery fee ($3.99) a drone flies to your location, lowers a package gently to the ground via a tether, and then flies off. It’s a safe, contactless, and ultra convenient service for last minute items or necessities for customers unable to get to the store.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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