Need to Know
- Walmart rolled out tests of in-home delivery in 2019, where verified and trusted Walmart employees would deliver groceries and stock fridges without customers needing to be at home.
- “Trust was the No. 1 thing that was top of mind,” according to Walmart. Employees wear live-stream cameras that customers can access at any point while inside their home.
- After testing in three markets, and learning from a similar rollout in 2017, Walmart plans to roll out the service to other markets and enhance the offering by introducing a new method of product return: leave it on the kitchen counter—no receipt needed.
- Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that customers who rely on e-commerce options like pickup and delivery spend twice as much as store-only shoppers.
- Walmart is on track to offer grocery pickup in 3,100 stores and same-day grocery delivery from 1,600 stores.
Walmart is pushing ahead with its plans to not only deliver customer’s groceries, but stock their fridges for them. And it appears that the program is succeeding in the three markets it’s testing the program.
The service, called InHome Delivery, costs customers $19.95 per month, has a minimum of $30 per order, and requires the installation of a $49.95 smart lock that only the customer and the day’s delivery person will be able to unlock with a one-time code. The service doesn’t require tipping and customers can cancel at any time.
“When we set out to design this service, trust was the No. 1 thing that was top of mind and the thing that we wanted to make sure we cracked,” said Whitney Pegden, general manager of InHome. “That’s why delivery people will wear live-stream cameras that customers will be able to access the entire time they’re in the customer’s home.”
The idea is to make it easier to shop for groceries online, especially since many customers work outside the home, have small children, or simply don’t want to stop working while smaller tasks around the house are done. Not only that, but cold and frozen groceries can’t be left on doorsteps for hours, which prevents some customers from using typical grocery delivery services.
Walmart is happy with the tests, which were done in Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Vero Beach, and plans to expand this service by allowing returns via kitchen counter, without any boxes, labels, or return fees.
Walmart U.S. e-commerce CEO Marc Lore said Walmart delivery people will “enter customers’ homes with the same care and respect with which they would treat a friend’s or family’s home.”
This offering is meant to directly compete with Amazon’s in-home, in-car, and in-garage delivery services, which it has rolled out over the past three years. However, Walmart’s recent amalgamation of its main and grocery apps, its new Walmart+ subscription program, and promises for keeping customers fridges in-stock preemptively in the future, is a strong play towards winning the eCommerce grocery game against Amazon Prime.
“What if we not only cover the last mile to customers’ homes but even the last few steps? What if we put their groceries away inside their kitchens or garages? And a step beyond that, what if they let us keep them replenished, keep them in stock, on the items they use all the time?,” asked Walmart CEO Doug McMillon at the Walmart Shareholders meeting.
“Imagine keeping homes in stock like we do stores. Think of a pantry like a four-foot section. Customers will start to think of us like a membership service where we make sure the items they use all the time are available in their homes,” McMillon said.
Lore said Walmart is “playing offense” through its experimentation and focus on e-commerce fulfillment, setting the company up “to become the primary destination for all weekly shopping.”