A proposed deal between Walmart, Uber, and Lyft which would have seen the birth of a new grocery delivery service has reportedly fallen through. That’s according to the source, which reports that both Walmart and Uber have confirmed the failure of the partnership. Originally announced during a Walmart shareholders meeting back in June 2016, the delivery service would have contracted Uber and Lyft drivers into the secondary role of grocery delivery drivers. On Walmart’s side of the partnership, customers would have been able to order their groceries from Walmart online and a driver for one of the ride-sharing businesses would have been responsible for delivery. Meanwhile, Uber and Lyft would have benefited from the ability to corner two separate markets in their own industry. The end of the proposal also places a strain on Walmart’s ambitions regarding its position as a competitor to Amazon’s grocery delivery services.
As of March, plans had been announced to extend grocery delivery to as much as 40-percent of the U.S. Sources say that the deal was brought to a close after Uber realized the difficulties involved in asking drivers to take on two roles simultaneously. Failures in communication are also said to have played a role in the companies’ inability to solve the logistical problems. However, the reasons for the end of the partnership were not relayed by either company, so it may be best to view that as speculative at best. Following the close of this deal, Walmart has said it is actively pursuing partnerships with delivery services in at least four markets where Uber had previously filled the role. That’s presumably to prevent a disruption of services local residents have come to depend on and the company claims that transition will be seamless.
Following the establishment of those new partnerships, Walmart has also confirmed that it has not abandoned the goal entirely but will instead work with local providers on an individual basis. Uber, meanwhile, will be closing down its own Rush service – centered around the delivery of groceries and other products – at the end of June. However, this isn’t expected to have a negative impact its Uber Eats program.