Walmart expanding grocery delivery inside customer homes to 30 million homes

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart is delivering to more consumer kitchens and garages.

Walmart is significantly scaling up its delivery service that allows it to enter a customer’s home or garage to deliver groceries and other purchases or pick up returns.

The discount giant plans to expand the accessibility of its InHome delivery service from its current range of 6 million U.S. households to 30 million U.S. households by the end of 2022. To support this growth, Walmart intends to hire more than 3,000 delivery drivers this year, as well as build out a fleet of 100% all-electric delivery vans.

Launched in 2019, Walmart’s InHome service delivers fresh groceries, everyday essentials and other products directly into customers’ homes, including placing items straight into their kitchen or garage refrigerator.  The service also provides pick up for returns.

How it works
Once signed up for InHome, a customer places their order on the Walmart app and selects InHome as their preferred delivery option. A trained InHome associate completes the delivery. Upon arriving at the customer’s home, the associate uses a one-time access code to unlock the customer’s door or garage through their InHome app, which pairs with smart entry technology.

The app notifies the customer at every step and a camera, worn on the associates’ vest, records the entire delivery, which customers have access to from their phones for up to a week after each delivery. Delivery personnel take health and safety measures including wearing a mask, sanitizing surfaces and locking up.

InHome Delivery costs $19.95 per month or $148 per year, with no additional fees, including tips, which are built into the membership price. Customers can extend one-time access to their InHome associate using an existing smart lock, a garage keypad, or by purchasing a new smart lock from InHome for $49.95.

Taking on Amazon
Walmart began piloting direct-to-fridge deliveries in January 2019, in the wake of Amazon rolling out some of the main features of its “smart entry” program, Amazon Key, to Prime members nationwide. The program’s primary feature, in-home deliveries, uses a smart lock to allow Amazon to make deliveries inside a customer’s front door or garage. Entry and exit video clips that allow customers to view motion video clips of a person entering or leaving their home when the door is locked or unlocked.

Providing infrastructure
To support the rapidly growing service, during 2022 Walmart plans to hire more than 3,000 InHome associate delivery drivers and equip them with a fleet of 100% all-electric delivery vans. The implementation of electric vehicles (EV) supports the retailer’s goal of operating a zero-emissions logistics fleet by 2040.

The role of associate delivery driver is a new, full-time position in Walmart stores. InHome drivers are employed by Walmart and receive an extra $1.50/hour from most current store roles, a pay differential the retailer says is designed to attract top talent. Associates qualify for the retailer’s total rewards and benefits plans.

Walmart plans to fill these roles by promoting its own associates from within. InHome drivers receive training conducted both in-person and using virtual reality.

[Read more: Walmart to launch VR training in all stores nationwide]

“This new role is yet another example of how technology is enabling us to offer new career opportunities that just didn’t exist a few years ago,” said Julie Murphy, executive VP and chief people officer, Walmart U.S. “Expanding our number of InHome associates is a testament to the trust and confidence we have in them and their continuous commitment to delight our customers. There’s a path for everyone to build a career here at Walmart, and this position is further proof of that.”

“We’ve been operating InHome in select markets over the last two years and have found it is a perfect solution for customers who want to live their lives without worrying about making it to the store or being home to accept a delivery,” said Tom Ward, senior VP, last mile at Walmart U.S. “Identifying ways to help our customers save time and money is our purpose, and nothing showcases that better than InHome delivery, which is why we’re excited to bring the convenience of InHome to even more customers in 2022.”