Walmart today kicked off its InHome Delivery service, in which associates can deliver groceries directly to a customer’s refrigerator.
Announced in June, InHome Delivery is now available to more than 1 million people in Pittsburgh; Vero Beach, Fla.; and Kansas City, Mo. and Kan., according to Bart Stein, senior vice president of membership and InHome at Walmart.
Walmart also revealed pricing for InHome Delivery on Tuesday. The retail giant said customers enrolling in the service can get unlimited deliveries for a monthly “introductory” price of $19.95, with a minimum order $30. There’s no fee for the first month. InHome users also must pay $49.95 for the smart-lock device enabling access to their home. Professional installation is included at no charge.
InHome Delivery is “aimed toward giving time back to families,” Stein noted in a blog post Tuesday.
“We’re obsessed with simplifying grocery shopping and finding ways to make our customers’ lives easier,” he said. “That’s why InHome goes the extra step so that our customers can live their lives without worrying about making it to the store or being home to accept a delivery.”
To use the InHome Delivery service, customers go online to InHome.Walmart.com to find out if their address is eligible and sign up. Next, they designate the refrigerator in their kitchen or garage as the delivery spot. Once the smart home technology is installed, customers then can begin placing orders. InHome Delivery associates don a proprietary, wearable camera when they enter the home. Via the digital home technology, customers can control access and view deliveries remotely. The service can be paused or canceled at any time, Walmart said.
For InHome members selecting kitchen deliveries, the service uses a door access device called Level Lock. Walmart said the unit “fits invisibly” inside the customer’s current deadbolt lock, with no keypad or external hardware. To provide entry to the garage fridge, InHome uses a smart garage door opener that the delivery person triggers with a remote control.
“With InHome Delivery, we’re putting more well-deserved time in the hands of our customers,” Stein explained. “Take Laura, a mom of three in Kansas City with a full-time job as a graphic designer. Laura loves baking banana bread with her kids but doesn’t have enough time to shop for the ingredients after work and get it out of the oven before bedtime. Now, with InHome Delivery, Laura can order all the ingredients she needs and have them delivered directly into her fridge while she’s at work — no more late-night trips to the store or taking time out of Sunday afternoons with her family.”
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart has steadily expanded its online grocery options for customers as it faces off with Amazon/Whole Foods Market, The Kroger Co. and other large grocery retailers in the on-demand service arena.
In September, Walmart unveiled plans to expand a subscription-based, unlimited-delivery option for its online grocery service to 1,400 stores later this fall. Called Delivery Unlimited, the service enables customers to pay an annual $98 fee or a monthly $12.95 fee to make unlimited Walmart online grocery orders ($30 minimum). Shoppers will continue to have the option to pay a per-delivery fee without a membership.
Walmart had quietly introduced unlimited grocery delivery in June, testing the service in Houston, Salt Lake City, Miami and Tampa, Fla. In response to positive feedback from customers, Walmart said it’s now expanding the program to all 200 metropolitan areas where Walmart Grocery Delivery service is available.
During fiscal 2019, Walmart expanded same-day grocery delivery to about 800 stores and free grocery pickup to more than 2,100 stores in the United States. By the end of this year, Walmart expects to have same-day grocery delivery available at 1,600 stores and free grocery pickup at 3,100 stores. The company said the expansion will enlarge its online grocery coverage of the U.S. population to 50% for same-day delivery and almost 80% for pickup.
Plans call for Delivery Unlimited to expand along with the rollout of grocery delivery. Walmart said the unlimited delivery option is slated to be available in over 1,600 stores and more than half of the country by the end of the year. Pickup is now available in nearly 3,000 stores.
When unveiling InHome Delivery in June, Walmart eCommerce U.S. President and CEO Marc Lore described it as a “food aisle to fridge” service. According to Stein, InHome Delivery takes the convenience of the Walmart Grocery Delivery service a step farther.
“It is a natural complement to our existing suite of grocery options, from shopping in store to Grocery Pickup and Delivery, including our recently expanded Delivery Unlimited membership,” he said. “We’re looking forward to building on our already exceptional service in these markets through InHome Delivery and bringing this offering to even more customers in the months to come.”