Over the years I’ve come to rely on delivery services to an increasingly greater degree. The convenience and time saved by carefully curating a shopping list at home has been a real game changer in my life. When you shop online it’s easier to build a menu for the week and avoid impulse purchases.
If you’ve wondered about using Walmart to delivery your groceries to the home – let me give you the full scoop – at this point I’ve been using the service for months.
The Walmart ordering experience
This part of the process is very solid. Both the Walmart app (iOS and Android) and the Walmart Grocery website are both well designed, quick and easy to use. Both order products into sensible categories which makes finding what you need very easy. Whether you’re using their pickup or delivery option – this part of the experience is identical.
I find myself always having the Walmart grocery app ready to hand on my phone. As I go about my day to day life, and run out of items, I quickly load it up and at that item to my shopping basket. Over the course of a few days or a week the cart slowly fills up with items I need. So much so, when it comes to placing an order, I find I have most everyone I need already in the cart. You can add items and leave them there indefinitely until you’re ready to order.
One of the biggest failings is the search feature. If you search for a given product and it comes back “not found” that’s not specifically an indication the product is unavailable. Sometimes navigating directly to a product via categories can yield a positive result, where a search might claim the product isn’t available. This area needs improvement, but with experience you’ll be able to find the products you want.
One final small issue is that Walmart dont offer a native iPad app. That means if you use the app on a tablet you will either need to use the small windowed iPhone version, or have it blown up full screen size, which looks kinda horrible. For the resources Walmart obviously have I am surprised there’s no dedicated app for the most popular tablet of choice.
Any time a product is ordered (nor necessarily delivered) it’s added to your favorites list. You can pull this list up at any time. The idea is that your staples like milk, bread, toilet roll etc can all be quickly brought up and added to your cart with a series of quick clicks.
In practice, I’ve found my favorites list quickly topped 500+ items, again, every ordered item automatically goes onto this list. I might be an outlier in that I like to try new products all the time. Still, you might need to trim this list from time to time, to keep it usable. Those one off things I bought for Christmas, I really don’t need them on my favorites list all year long…
If any of your favorites happen to be subject to one of Walmart’s price Rollbacks, this will be flagged up for you on the favorites screen.
Checking out and booking a time
Check out is simple. You’ll be given a list of available delivery times over the coming days. Walmart allow you to select delivery windows in one hour increments which I find very handy. Some services make you select from longer two hour windows, which means more time milling around waiting for your delivery driver to arrive.
You can usually book your delivery upto a week in advance and delivery times start at 8 a.m. and end at 8 p.m.
What if I forget an item?
Depending on how far out your delivery time is, the app/site will give you a small window to make changes. All you need to do is login back in, add the items and check out again. The extra items will be added to your pending order. The window for adding itms like this is confirmed at check out, so take note when you make payment.
How are out of stock items handled?
Before check out you’ll be asked to review your order and tick/untick how you’d like Walmart to handle out of stock items. By default every item is ticked, which is to say Walmart will use their discretion to provide a suitable alternative. If you untick the option next to the product, and the product is not in stock, no replacement will be chosen.
So how good are the substitution replacements? To be honest, it can run the spectrum. One time, I found lemons substituted for limes, which was a little head scratching. Mostly the subs are good, and indeed a lot of the time, you might walk away winning. That 32oz of coffee beans you wanted wasn’t in stock? Oh look, they’ve sent the 36oz for the same price…
You’re mileage can vary a lot. My advice would be if you really want a specific brand, uncheck the sub option. If on the other hand, you don’t care what brand of chickpeas turns up, go right ahead. I actually draw some small measure of fun by seeing what subs turn up on weirder items, but then I’m strange!
One tip I have is that I usually plan my weekly menu with a little flexibility. That way if certain items don’t arrive, I can pivot to something else. I’ll avoid trying to prepare a dish that requires exact products in their entirety.
How long in advance do I need to place an order for delivery?
Before I place my order I like to hit the “reserve a time slot” button, right before I even start shopping. This will show you what delivery slots are available. If you select one the app/site will usually reserve that for you for 2-4 hours, giving you time to complete your shopping safe in the knowledge the time slot is temporarily reserved for you.
In terms of how far ahead, you can normally expect a next day delivery. If you place your order first thing in the morning you might also be able to get same day delivery, albeit later in the afternoon.
I wouldn’t rely on the Walnary delivery service for emergencies where you need items NOW, look to services like Instacart, Postmates and Amazon Prime Now for that.
The delivery experience
This is probably the weakest part of the experience. That’s not to say it’s bad, but it can vary wildly. Walmart don’t delivery directly themselves. They contract the service out to the DoorDash network of drivers.
Sometimes I’ve had a driver keep me informed all along their journey, texting me as they head to the store, arrive, and head my way. Sometimes the first I know about the delivery is when they knock on my front door. Sometimes they’ve already brought everything to my front step (which I actually don’t like), sometimes it’s waiting out in their car. One time, the driver was clearly a smoker, and my groceries had a feint tinge of smoke.
As I say, the experience can wildly differ from driver to driver. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been disappointed or let down though; and I do use DoorDash directly myself to order restaurant food delivered.
Out of tens and tens of deliveries, I’ve only had one driver fail to make the delivery window, and they did text me to say they were having issues. I should note at this point you’re able to then also text back with queries.
What if there’s an error with the delivery
I find Walmart to be unfailingly helpful in this regards. IF there’s anything wrong with the order whatsoever it’s as easy as picking up the phone and getting in touch with the store. Without fail, they’ve made every situation right for me. This usually means granting an immediate refund without question when subs are a little screwy, or a product didn’t make its way to me.
Personally speaking this is huge. I’ve never once had to argue my point or situation, and it means I can shop with huge confidence; and no, they’re not paying me to say this 😉
What’s the price of delivery?
Just recently I moved to the unlimited delivery option. For $12.95 per month you can receive as many deliveries to the home as you like each month. The only caveat is that the order must reach $35. I find no problem with that and often I have at least one or two deliveries.
If you decide to pay as you go, expect to pay $7.95 – $9.95 per delivery. Obviously based on those numbers, if you expect to do a couple of orders per month, unlimited is the way forward!
So is it any good?
Back to the headline of this article then, would I recommend this service? Yes, I’m a huge fan. Here are all the plus points:
- Cost. Aside from Costco which I find a pain, Walmart is probably the most affordable grocer in my area. I can stock up on pantry items, frozen goods, cleaning supplies etc. and know I’m getting a solid price
- Heavy lifting. On the topic of bulkier items, delivery makes shopping for bigger products a breeze. No more lugging items off the shelf and around the store to checkout.
- Time. I find a larger shop takes at least an hour in the store. Not to mention travel time and loading/unloading.
- Planning. As I mentioned earlier, by planning your menu in advance shopping online you can make for a shop with minimal impulse purchases. Less junk, less waste, more cash saved
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC – Utah’s biggest and oldest online food magazine; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV shows.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for the better part of fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. I started Shop Smart to catalogue my adventures in the grocery store and kitchen. Follow along on Instagram too!