Walmart is expanding its service that will deliver your groceries right to your refrigerator, the company announced today. First launched in fall 2019, Walmart’s home delivery service, as it’s known, allows customers to place grocery orders online and then receive their deliveries by asking an associate to Walmart to enter their home using a smart lock. The service was initially tested in a small handful of markets, including Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Vero Beach, and is now available to 6 million homes in the United States after further launches in Northwest Arkansas, Atlanta, Phoenix and DC Today, Walmart says it plans to expand home delivery more widely, with the goal of reaching 30 million homes in the United States by the end of the year.
This will include upcoming launches in major markets like Dallas, Nashville, LA, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis and others.
As part of this expansion, Walmart plans to hire more than 3,000 delivery drivers during the year. It will also constitute a fleet of 100% electric delivery vans which will be used to make deliveries, while marketing the service in the districts served.
The InHome service itself costs $ 19.95 per month, making it more suitable for customers who work outside the home during the day or who travel and want to store their groceries while they are away.
While it might seem odd to think of a delivery guy walking into your home to stock your fridge, the InHome service is responding to a major consumer complaint about online grocery delivery – that you need to be at home (or at the store). less come soon) in to store your cold and frozen groceries once your order is left on the doorstep.
Services like Shipt and Instacart – the main competitors to Walmart grocery – do not offer a solution to keeping insulated customers’ items cold beyond potentially double-wrapped items, at the buyer’s discretion. Buyers of these services only use the paper or plastic bags provided by the store at checkout, and there is no system for exchanging insulated bags or boxes at the time of delivery or checkout. use of a kind of insulated cooler at the customer’s home. This means that sometimes customers arrive home to find their melted ice cream or other spoiled cold items, if they are left out for too long on a hot day. To further complicate matters, services aren’t always delivered at the time you specify, which means deliveries may arrive too early or too late to be convenient.
By offering door-to-door service, Walmart can better manage delivery logistics on its own, instead of having to bypass customer requests for specific time slots throughout the day. Meanwhile, he sells customers the utility of not only having the last mile traveled, but also having those final stages covered between the doorstep and the refrigerator or kitchen counter.
“Above all, convenience is the number one factor for our customers,” Tom Ward, senior vice president of last mile delivery at Walmart, told TechCrunch. “People love to keep doing the things they want to do, and they don’t always want to wait at home for deliveries or whatever… Really, the ultimate convenience is to come home and find all the things. items you bought waiting for you at home, ”he said.
InHome customers also appreciate the other perks that come with their subscription, noted Ward.
Subscribers can access all of the features of Walmart +, the retailer’s Amazon Prime competitor offering free shipping and more. Additionally, InHome customers can leave items they wish to return to Walmart on their counter for the InHome delivery driver to bring back with them to the store. And that’s just the start, Ward suggested.
“What we basically tried to do is think about what amenities you would know that customers really want to experience,” he explained. “Rx is going to be on the horizon,” Ward added, referring to Walmart’s plans to integrate its prescription delivery business into InHome, which is already being teased on the InHome website.
When it comes to the inside-home delivery process, the InHome system itself works much the same as it did at launch.
The system is based on smart locking technology and a video camera worn on the uniform of the delivery driver. Walmart partnered with Level Home for their smart entry door entry technology (Level Bolt and Level Touch) and had previously worked with Nortek Security & Control for their smart garage door entry technology. It now offers an upgrade kit for Genie and overhead garage door openers instead.
Walmart customers can select either device for $ 49.95 or they can now use their smart lock or garage keypad as an alternative.
The delivery person can enter the house using a one-time access code provided in their InHome app. The app also notifies the customer that the delivery has started and turns on the camera worn on the associate’s vest. This records the entire delivery that the customer can see as it takes place through their own InHome application. This is intended to eliminate any security concerns with allowing an unknown person into the house when the guest is away. The delivery guy puts the food away while wearing a mask, then disinfects the surfaces they used and locks up as they leave.
This video recording is accessible for up to a week after each delivery, Walmart notes. But in testing, it has been found that customers start to trust the process after a few uses – in the same way that they can become increasingly trusting other service staff who are given a code. door – like a house cleaner or dog walker, for example.
It’s often the same person who also makes deliveries at Walmart, and the company notes that it takes at least a year of employment to move into the new Associate Delivery Driver position.
As the service grows more widely, Walmart says it is now officially creating the Associate Delivery Driver role as a new full-time position that pays $ 1.50 more per hour than most of its in-store roles. . These employees are eligible for company benefits such as medical, vision, and dental insurance, 401K matchmaking, paid time off, free counseling, and Walmart’s Live Better U program that pays for a free college degree. The retailer says it will initially fill the new positions through internal promotions, and that staff will be trained both in person and using virtual reality experiences through Walmart’s existing VR training platform.
Most of the associate delivery drivers who already do this job have an average tenure of more than five years with the company, Ward said. Although promotions to the new position will largely involve existing employees, Walmart expects to fill positions that these employees are vacant. This expansion will therefore lead to growth in Walmart’s overall workforce.
“It draws on the track records of over 300,000 associates who were promoted to more responsible, higher-paying positions in FY21,” noted Ward.
Electric vans used by InHome drivers, meanwhile, advance Walmart’s goal of operating a zero-emission logistics fleet by 2040 and will be supported by 1,396 electric vehicle charging stations. from Walmart to stores and clubs in 41 U.S. states, the company said.
(Walmart is set to detail its partnership efforts on the electric vehicle front in a separate announcement at CES.)