Nextdoor and Walmart partner on a new neighborly assistance program

Posted by | Apps, coronavirus, COVID-19, grocery, Mobile, neighbors, nextdoor, Social, social media, volunteer, Walmart | No Comments

Neighborhood social network Nextdoor and Walmart are teaming up today to launch a new “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program that will make it easier for vulnerable community members to get assistance from neighbors who are already planning a trip to Walmart. The new in-app feature will allow Nextdoor users to post to groups associated with their local Walmart store to request shopping assistance.

To find the new option, Nextdoor users can either use the Nextdoor website or mobile app.

From there, users will click on the “Groups” tab where they’ll see local Walmart stores pinned to the top of the page. Members can then post a message to the group feed where they can ask for help or offer to help others.

Members who connect in the feed can then work out the details on the message board or through direct message, where they can share more private details like their address and what they need from the store.

The feature is designed to help elderly, high-risk or other vulnerable members find someone who will pick up groceries, medications or other essentials when they’re planning a trip to the store.

This could also offer a low-cost alternative to using online grocery delivery services, which require tipping. In the case of a neighbor helping a neighbor, the assistance is offered on a volunteer basis, not as someone’s job. That could be potentially life-saving for low-income community members who can’t risk shopping in a store during the coronavirus pandemic, but who also struggle to afford alternatives like online grocery.

Walmart isn’t moderating or managing these Nextdoor groups, to be clear, but worked with Nextdoor to make the feature available.

For the retailer, the addition isn’t just beneficial in terms of directing customers to Walmart to shop, it’s also seen as a way to reduce the number of people who come to the store in-person.

“I’ve seen first-hand the countless ways our Walmart team is working together during this challenging time, leading with humanity, compassion and understanding to serve our customers,” said Janey Whiteside, Walmart’s chief customer officer, in a statement about the feature’s launch. “We’re continuing to do that through our new program with Nextdoor. We’re connecting neighbors to each other so that more members of our communities have access to essential items, while limiting contact and the number of people shopping in our stores,” she added.

Nextdoor has launched several new features in response to the coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks.

Its new “Help Maps” allowed members to post and offer help in their neighborhood, for example. But this feature had been buried on the “More” menu in the app and was being underutilized as a result. A dedicated place within Nextdoor Groups for these sorts of requests is more visible, making it easier to offer assistance or to ask for help.

Over the past few weeks, Nextdoor says it has seen a 7x increase in people joining groups to help one another, a not surprising figure given its recent exit from beta.

Nextdoor will also make the Walmart groups easy to find by pinning them to the top of the Groups tab, it says.

Meanwhile, Walmart store locations and hours where “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” is available can be found on Nextdoor’s “Help Map.”

“We’re inspired everyday by the kindness of people around the world who are stepping up and helping out. In recent weeks, we’ve been blown away by the number of members who have raised their hand to run an errand, go to the grocery store, or pick up a prescription for a neighbor,” said Sarah Friar, Nextdoor CEO, about the feature. “We’re grateful for Walmart’s partnership to make this important connection between neighbors around vital services, and we’re proud to come together to ensure everyone has a neighborhood to rely on,” she said.

The new initiative is launching nationwide starting today, but may not be immediately available in the app as the rollout could take time to complete.

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Grocery delivery apps see record downloads amid coronavirus outbreak

Posted by | Apps, apptopia, coronavirus, COVID-19, e-commerce, eCommerce, grocery, grocery delivery, Health, Instacart, Mobile, online grocery, online shopping, shipt, Target, Walmart | No Comments

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the U.S., grocery delivery apps have begun seeing record numbers of daily downloads, according to new data from app store intelligence firm Apptopia. On Sunday, online grocery apps, including Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt, hit yet another new record for daily downloads for their respective apps, the firm says.

Comparing the average daily downloads in February to yesterday (Sunday, March 15), Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt have seen their daily downloads surge by 218%, 160% and 124%, respectively.

Typically, these apps (except for Shipt) see tens of thousands to as many as 20,000+ downloads per day. But on Sunday, Instacart saw more than 38,500 downloads and Walmart Grocery saw nearly 54,000 downloads, the firm says. Shipt, though hitting record numbers, saw only 7,285 downloads on Sunday. To some extent, its lower figures could be due to Target’s move to integrate Shipt’s grocery delivery service, which it owns, into its main app.

In fact, the Target app has also broken records for daily downloads, the report found. On Sunday, Target’s app saw more than 53,100 daily downloads; a month ago, it was seeing 25,000+.

Walmart very recently announced it would merge its grocery delivery service into its main app, as Target has done. But for now, consumers are still seeking and downloading its standalone grocery app at record levels.

These grocery delivery apps are in demand more than ever during this health crisis.

With government mandates to practice “social distancing,” U.S. consumers have been stocking up for long weeks to be spent at home. Stores were cleared of key supplies, like toilet paper, and several also saw long lines and crowds as panic-buying set in. Grocery delivery and pickup, meanwhile, presents an easier option — as well as one where you could limit your exposure to other people. With grocery pickup, consumers only have to interact with a single store employee from their curbside parking space. And with grocery delivery, most orders can simply be left on the doorstep with no person-to-person contact required.

Several grocery delivery services, including Instacart and others, promoted the fact they would add a “contactless” delivery option, which helps contribute to the huge sales boost. On Thursday, Instacart said its sales growth rates for the week was 10 times higher than the week before, and had increased by as much as 20 times in areas like California, New York, Washington and Oregon.

Apptopia’s report didn’t analyze the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Amazon’s grocery delivery business, which includes Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods deliveries. This is more difficult to do because Amazon grocery orders aren’t placed inside a dedicated app, as with Instacart. However, Amazon confirmed a technical glitch on Sunday affected online orders through both its grocery delivery services, which the company attributed to the increase in online shopping.

“As COVID-19 has spread, we’ve seen a significant increase in people shopping online for groceries,” an Amazon spokeswoman explained, in a statement shared with Bloomberg. “This resulted in a systems impact affecting our ability to deliver Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market orders [on Sunday night]. We’re contacting customers, issuing concessions, and are working around the clock to quickly to resolve the issue,” they added.

Amazon Prime is also expected to experience delays and shortages as consumers stock up on non-grocery household items, the company says.

But even as grocery delivery booms, the market for food delivery apps has not seen the same results.

Despite promises for contactless delivery from several providers, including Uber Eats, food delivery apps are not experiencing a similar surge in daily downloads. According to Apptopia, the food delivery market earlier in March was starting to cool off. It later began to pick up but then cooled off again as consumers realized the expense of ordering food compared with home cooking, and because some consumers view restaurant delivery as not being as safe as cooking at home.

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