Can a drone deliver food? What you need to know about Walmart in Florida
Ordering groceries online and having a driver deliver them to your front door – what seemed high-tech has gone high-tech:
Walmart is now using drones to deliver your picks.
The mega-retailer has partnered with delivery network DroneUp to provide home delivery services by drone from 36 sites in seven states, including Florida. Walmart first announced its Florida plans in December.
Do you have questions about drone food delivery? We’ve got some answers, including DroneUp’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Patrick Santucci.
How does the drone delivery service work?
To order: Walmart says a customer orders through droneupdelivery.com. The ordered item is taken out of the store, packed and loaded onto the drone. The drone then flies to the customer’s home and delivers the food to the customer’s backyard. Soaring 80 feet up, the drone uses a sturdy cable to lower the package to the ground. Walmart and DroneUp say your item should arrive in 30 minutes or less in most cases.
Where does the drone fly?
Several states: In addition to Florida, the drone delivery service is active in Arkansas, where Walmart is headquartered, as well as in Arizona, Texas, Utah and Virginia. The chain aims to compete with e-commerce merchants like Amazon, Fox13 Tampa Bay reports.
Do other companies do this?
Trend: Retail drone deliveries by a variety of companies, including Walmart, Amazon, UPS and Domino’s Pizza (the first to do drone delivery, according to Insider Intelligence), will expand from 35,000 in 2022 to 110,000 in 2024, according to Insider Intelligence.
Amazon: In June 2019, Amazon announced that it would begin drone deliveries “within a few months,” according to Forbes, but in December 2022 in California and Texas, according to Drone DJ.
When can you order?
Hours: A Walmart customer can order a drone delivery every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through the droneupdelivery.com website.
Elements: In theory, Walmart said customers could drop off tens of thousands of eligible items like Tylenol, diapers and hot dog buns and order them in their backyard, in most cases within 30 minutes.
Weather Hazards: DroneUp notes that forces such as inclement weather or high winds may cause delivery delays. Floridian Tip: Order your hurricane delivery before the season starts in June and not under a hurricane watch or warning.
How much can I order and how much does this service cost?
Payment: Shipping is $3.99. You can order items up to 10 pounds. “Simply put, if it’s safe, it will fly,” Walmart said.
Weight: DroneUp recently upgraded its aircraft to support payloads of up to 10 pounds, Santucci told the Miami Herald. When the program first rolled out nationwide in May 2022, the weight limit was 3 pounds.
What is the delivery range?
Restriction: “Hub locations are chosen based on several factors, such as weather and population,” Santucci said. “Currently the delivery is about one mile, but we want to increase it in the future and offer this service to more people.”
Goal: According to Walmart statistics, 4,700 stores are located in 90% of the US population, but not all of these people live within a mile of a Walmart. The goal and capability was to deliver a million packages by drone in the first year, Walmart Inc. announced in December. In 2022, Walmart completed 6,000 drone deliveries in the US
What do Florida Walmarts deliver by drone?
Places: According to DroneUp, as of mid-March, seven Walmart locations in Florida were taking orders for drone deliveries. Here’s where they are:
▪ Walmart Supercenter #2740,19910 Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, Tampa.
▪ Walmart Supercenter #26951450 Johns Lake Rd., Clermont.
▪ Walmart Supercenter #5299550 US Highway 27, Clermont.
▪ Walmart Supercenter #9948745 State Route 54, New Port Richey.
▪ Walmart Supercenter #9412140 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico.
▪ Walmart Supercenter #33477450 Cypress Gardens Blvd., Winter Haven.
▪ Walmart Supercenter #34631208 E. Brandon Blvd., Brandon.
What about Miami? Fort Lauderdale? The Florida Keys?
Next steps: “We have plans to continue to open more hubs, but at this time we cannot comment on where the next ones will open,” Santucci said. “We will continue to listen to customer feedback to determine where to bring this delivery option next.”
I live in an apartment. Do drones fly there?
Houses only: A drone delivery service drops packages via cable into the customer’s backyard. But what if the clients live in an apartment? How would a drone be delivered to a customer who does not live in a single-family home? “This is a new service, and while we cannot currently facilitate package delivery to apartment buildings, we are always exploring ways to improve the customer experience and bring this delivery option to more people,” Santucci said.
Need to be home for delivery?
Announcements: Customers receive status updates and notifications on their mobile phone during the delivery process, so technically they don’t need to be on the ground and receive their paper towels or ice cream in waiting hands. But with porch thieves in mind, it might be a good idea to be around. “Plan accordingly,” Santucci said.
What are the most popular items for drone deliveries?
Last minute items: “With a delivery time of 30 minutes or less, this service is for last-minute items or urgent deliveries,” Santucci said.
According to Walmart, these are the most popular drone delivery items from the new service so far.
▪ A great value cookie
▪ Great value ice cream
▪ 2 lb. package of lemons
▪ Rotisserie Chicken
▪ red bull
▪ Gift paper towels.