Wal-Mart is testing a same-day delivery service in select markets

Wal-Mart is testing a same-day delivery service in select markets. (Paul Sakuma / Associated Press / October 9, 2012)

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Wal-Mart is testing same-day delivery in certain markets, including parts of California, in a bid to nab more retail customers during the high-stakes holiday season.

The discount uber-chain said Tuesday that its beta version of the Walmart To Go delivery program is already in operation in northern Virginia, Philadelphia and Minneapolis. The company will roll out the test in San Francisco and San Jose later this month or in early November.

Customers in the current markets will pay $10 for each delivery, which can include an unlimited number of general merchandise items, with no minimum purchase requirement. Such products include popular gifts such as televisions, sporting goods, toys and more.

Orders placed by noon online will be delivered by UPS trucks within a four-hour window of the customer’s choosing.

In the California markets, Wal-Mart has been developing a same-day grocery delivery service since 2010. Shoppers who use the service currently must spend at least $45 to request same-day delivery, with an additional $5 to $10 delivery fee.

The same requirements will be in place after the general merchandise option is added. By 7 a.m., California shoppers must select their items, which will be plucked from local stores and transported by Wal-Mart’s own trucks.

Retailers – especially brick-and-mortar chains doing battle with online rivals such as Ebay and Amazon – have unveiled a slew of shopping options and perks for customers this season.

Target is equipping popular toys with QR codes  and implementing a Digital Wish List online, which can be shared by email. Wal-Mart extended its layaway service.

Nordstrom began testing a same-day delivery service last year in three stores, including locations in Seattle and Bellevue in Washington and also in La Jolla. The pilot is going well, a company spokesman said.

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