Why Does Walmart Ship Separately

Shipping items to your home is easier and more convenient than ever. People love being able to shop from the comfort of their own homes and have those items delivered, often very quickly, without the hassle of having to make a trip to the store.

Some Walmart shoppers have noticed that they seem to get their items in 1s and 2s instead of in one larger package.

Even products that are supposed to be used together, like a baby crib and mattress, sometimes ship separately. Products may arrive the same day in different boxes, or they may arrive days or even weeks apart.

Grocery shoppers, in particular, notice a trend where one or two of the items on their list make it into a box, so shoppers may end up with a dozen boxes or shipping bags at a time for a single order.

Why does Walmart ship this way?

Walmart ships separately to improve speed and because of regional availability. Walmart ships items from the closest stores that have that product in stock right then, and they don’t prioritize keeping the whole order together. Their goal is to get products to consumers as fast as possible, even if that means they end up paying more in shipping and packaging materials to make it happen. 

It wasn’t that long ago that shipping was much less convenient than it is today. But Walmart and other retailers are now trying to offer delivery that competes with companies like Amazon, whose regional distribution centers and huge warehouses simply can’t be replicated in a customer-facing storefront.

Let’s talk about why this happens and what you can do to avoid getting a couple of extra pounds of cardboard in addition to your requested items!

Does Walmart Handle Its Own Shipping?

No, and that’s one of the biggest reasons you’ll get more packages when you order from a retailer like Walmart vs. from Amazon. Walmart doesn’t have its own shipping division, so shipping products have to be handled at the store level or, rarely, Walmart’s internal distribution centers.

Distribution centers are usually only involved when the item is one Walmart carries but doesn’t stock in stores. Online-only purchases are often included in this, though some of those items may still actually ship from store warehouses.

Because they don’t have an internal shipping department, they simply ship from whichever stores have the product in stock. In some cases, the store that fulfills an order may be based on local availability and demand, which may mean that the item comes from further away than it usually does.

To compete with shipping giant Amazon, Walmart normally prioritizes speed over other logistical details.

Why Won’t Walmart Ship Certain Items?

There are various reasons Walmart won’t ship certain items, depending on the item in question.

For instance, Walmart may not ship bakery goods or certain food products because those items are temperature and time sensitive and could be harmed or even become dangerous in normal shipping channels.

Other items might be cost-prohibitively large, heavy, or have other restrictions that make shipping them impractical. They need to keep costs as low as possible, especially on products that are already discounted below normal retail, and can only pass on so much of the cost of shipping before customers stop ordering that item.

The last big reason for not shipping some items is that they are promotional items, items that are only stocked in a small number of stores, or items that Walmart has a hard time keeping in stock.

Until the retailer has good supply chains for items with higher demand than supply, they may choose to lower demand by limiting the ways you can purchase that particular item.

What Is The Difference Between Walmart Shipping And Walmart Delivery?

Functionally, there isn’t a difference between these two services on the customer side.

The name of each service is different, but it’s really the same thing, just different providers and a different size and weight of the item.

Small items are eligible for Walmart shipping, while larger items require delivery services. That’s mostly because of what kind of equipment and training the handler needs and how much it will cost Walmart to ship the item.

If, for instance, you were to buy a piece of furniture from Walmart and have it delivered, that delivery truck needs to be equipped with a dolly, more than one courier, or other equipment to keep workers safe during the delivery. That equipment costs more and isn’t necessary for all packages, so most delivery service providers classify those deliveries differently and schedule them separately from smaller package shipping trucks and deliveries.

What Is Walmart’s Spark Delivery?

Walmart Spark is essentially the Walmart equivalent of Instacart. The shoppers/couriers are independent contractors who are paid by delivery rather than being hourly or salaried employees of Walmart.

This service is a great way to get groceries and other in-store-only items delivered quickly and without the hassle of extra packaging. However, there are some important limitations.

For one thing, Walmart Spark isn’t available everywhere, so you’ll need to check and see if any of your local stores offer this service.

Additionally, Spark contractors aren’t allowed to leave the package on your porch or inside the front door. You need to be physically home and able to receive the package, or they won’t complete delivery. They have to take the package back to the store if you aren’t home.

Still, for people who have this service available, Spark goes a long way toward making Walmart delivery services more accessible and effective!

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