In today’s top retail news, Walmart is partnering with Ford and Argo AI to bring driverless delivery to three major U.S. cities, and PetSmart is offering consumers the ability to use Afterpay’s buy now, pay later (BNPL) platform for purchases. Also, retailers are prepping for pent-up consumer demand during the holiday shopping season, and Parachute is now selling bedframes in its first foray into furniture.
Walmart plans to have a driverless delivery service fleet in three new cities using Ford’s autonomous test vehicles that have the Argo AI Self-Driving System embedded. The service will be available to Walmart customers within defined service areas of Miami; Washington, D.C.; and Austin Texas and the offering will expand over time, with plans to begin the initial integration testing later this year.
PetSmart has partnered with the buy now, pay later (BNPL) company Afterpay to give customers the chance to pay for purchases in interest-free installments. The payment method applies to services such as grooming and training, as well as products. Afterpay says pet-related searches on its platform have risen nearly 270% in the last year.
Steve Sadove, senior adviser at Mastercard and former CEO of Saks, told Karen Webster that despite rising inflation and the continued spread of COVID-19 causing headwinds, he’s confident that demand for retail is still strong and will carry through the end of the year. Mastercard earlier this week projected U.S. retail sales during the traditional Nov. 1-Dec. 24 holiday shopping period this year to grow by 7.4% compared to 2020 and by 11.1% compared to 2019.
Walmart still holds a lead over Amazon when it comes to health and personal care products, though increasing competition across the wellness space has both companies struggling to make any serious ground in the past two quarters. In the second quarter, Walmart saw nearly 6% of health and personal care sales while Amazon saw 4%.
Direct-to-consumer (D2C) lifestyle brand Parachute is entering the furniture category with the launch of its first line of bed frames, as the company tries to take market share from bigger merchants in order to grow its business and become a part of every room in consumers’ homes. This is the sixth category Parachute has entered in the last three years.