- Walmart has nearly doubled the service area of its InHome grocery delivery service with its launch into several new markets across the U.S., the retail giant announced in a news release last week.
- The new markets advance Walmart's goal to expand InHome coverage from 6 million homes to 30 million homes this year and include: Miami; Tampa, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Dallas; Austin, Texas; San Jose, Calif.; and San Francisco. Customers in these markets will be able to use InHome to have groceries delivered to their doorstep, kitchen or garage.
- Walmart also announced that InHome is now available as an optional, $40-per-year add-on for its Walmart+ membership, with a cost of $138 annually for the combined package. That's $1 less than rival membership service Amazon Prime.
Offering InHome as a Walmart+ add-on could help Walmart draw in more InHome customers as its coverage expands — the company touted the combination as "the ultimate membership" in its news release.
"By bringing all our delivery capabilities into a single, streamlined delivery experience customers will be able to choose the membership plan that appeals the most to them," Tom Ward, executive vice president and chief e-commerce officer at Walmart U.S., wrote on LinkedIn.
InHome, which launched in 2019 in select markets, allows customers to have the items they regularly buy to be consistently stocked in their home by Walmart, President and CEO Doug McMillon said on a February earnings call.
InHome delivers seven days a week between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., according to Walmart’s website. Users are notified of a 3-hour delivery window the morning of and are then notified when the InHome associate is on the way. For deliveries inside the home, an InHome associate uses a one-time access code to unlock a customer's door, and the delivery is recorded.
Having a Walmart associate enter a home for delivery brought many skeptics at first "because of the obvious safety issues that could follow," said Devanshu Bansal, startup head at corporate innovation platform The X Future, on LinkedIn. The company "has since then successfully packaged this into a premium service and a key differentiator,” Bansal added.
But Walmart also needs to bolster its delivery capacity to serve its new InHome markets. The company announced in January it aims to hire more than 3,000 associate delivery drivers to aid in its InHome expansion.
"The majority of these roles will be filled by existing experienced associates," McMillon said on the earnings call. "We'll be building out a fleet of all-electric delivery vans to support our delivery services and our goal of a zero emissions logistics fleet by 2040."
Food delivery has become a valuable piece of Walmart's shipping capabilities. Its white-label delivery service, GoLocal, is now delivering for independent food and beverage retailers through e-commerce platform Local Express.
Rival Amazon is also linking a food-focused delivery service to its membership program. Prime members can sign up for a free, one-year Grubhub+ membership, Amazon and Grubhub parent company Just Eat Takeaway announced last week.