- Walmart's InHome grocery delivery service launches today in Pittsburgh; Vero Beach, California; Kansas City, Missouri; and Kansas City, Kansas, according to a company blog post.
- The service, originally announced in June, uses specially trained delivery staff and a smart lock system customers install on their front or garage doors, to deliver fresh groceries directly to a customer's refrigerator. Through InHome Delivery, customers have access to unlimited grocery shipments for $19.95 a month after installing the smart lock system, which requires a one-time payment of $49.95 and is compatible with standard deadbolt locks.
- The company plans to incorporate a returns service starting in December, Bart Stein, Walmart's senior vice president of membership and InHome, told CNBC. Customers could leave items in a designated area of their kitchen to be returned by the delivery person after their grocery orders are stocked.
Grocery represents 55% of all Walmart's sales, according to a CNBC report. The retailer currently offers grocery pickup in nearly 3,000 U.S. markets and delivery in over 1,000, not to mention a large brick and mortar footprint. Grocery delivery is a key category the retailer can leverage as it competes with Amazon, which currently offers grocery delivery and pickup through its Amazon Fresh service, Whole Foods chains and in-home or car deliveries through its Amazon Key service.
Building and maintaining a high level of consumer trust is paramount to in-home delivery, particularly if the customer is not present at the time. To put customers' minds at ease, Walmart worked with Level Home to develop its smart lock, which allows scheduled delivery personnel to enter a customer's home via a unique, one-time passcode, after which a body camera on the person's uniform records and live-streams the delivery and fridge-stocking process.
Walmart has also stressed that InHome service members will be employees of good standing, subject to background checks and undergo extensive training.
Overall, the market for online grocery shopping and delivering is growing steadily year over year, changing the way brick-and-mortar grocers leverage their supply chains and store footprints to keep additional inventory and fulfill orders for customers who may not set foot in their stores. To stand out from the competition in the last-mile delivery space, crossing the threshold into the last yard is Walmart's play to dominate delivery.