UTAH (ABC4) – As the convenience of online ordering has changed the landscape of modern-day consumerism, one national retail chain is taking it up a notch further.
Popular mass retailer Walmart is bringing same-day deliveries to Utahns in a whole new way — via drones.
The company will be bringing its drone delivery network to Utah through the company DroneUp.
“Today we’re announcing we’ll be expanding our DroneUp delivery network to 34 sites by the end of the year, providing the potential to reach 4 million U.S. households across six states – Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia,” says Walmart.
Customers interested in drone delivery can place an order between the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and receive their items in “as little as 30 minutes.”
The company says tens of thousands of items are eligible for drone delivery including household necessities such as Tylenol, diapers, food and more. The order’s total weight limit is capped at 10 pounds and the delivery fee is priced at $3.99.
Drone deliveries will be made by a team of certified pilots operating within FAA guidelines. All deliveries will be made within a mile of the store, says Walmart. After an order is placed, the items will be loaded into a drone and delivered to the customer’s residence “ using a cable that gently lowers the package.”
“After completing hundreds of deliveries within a matter of months across our existing DroneUp hubs, we’ve seen firsthand how drones can offer customers a practical solution for getting certain items, fast,” says Walmart. “More importantly, we’ve seen a positive response from our customers that have used the service.”
Walmart initially believed the drone service would be used for emergency deliveries such as medications, but upon initial testing, most customers used it for “sheer convenience, like a quick fix for a weeknight meal.” The top-selling item via drone delivery? “Hamburger Helper.”
Although the drone system will be used for product delivery, Walmart says it plans to expand the system’s potential and “explore its benefits.” The company says the drones could provide aerial solutions with industries such as insurance companies, emergency response teams, real estate, construction and more.
“Not only will the added revenue help offset the cost of delivery, but it also serves the entire drone industry by gathering more flight data as we work together to expand drone operations in a safe and regulated way,” says Walmart.