Walmart goes head to head with Amazon — again
Walmart is now bringing groceries right to customer fridges in select markets.
The discount giant has rolled out a pilot of InHome Delivery, a service that delivers fresh groceries and everyday items directly to refrigerators located inside customer kitchens or garages. Customers with eligible addresses in the Kansas City, (Missouri and Kansas), Pittsburgh, and Vero Beach, Florida markets can select a kitchen or garage fridge as their delivery spot.
Participating customers pay $49.95 for a smart device that fits into their door lock or serves as a garage door opener, with free professional installation. When customers order InHome Delivery service, a specially trained Walmart associate (who goes through four background checks) shops for their groceries and uses smart entry technology and a proprietary, wearable camera to enter their home.
Deliveries are live streamed to the customer’s phone from the time the door is unlocked until the associate leaves and locks the door again. Walmart covers the customer’s home for up to $1 million in any damages that are caused during delivery.
Membership is $19.99 per month, with first month free. There is a minimum order of $30 for the service. Associates bring products in special packs designed to keep items safe and cool, eliminating the need for the customer to clean up any extra packaging. Walmart says that soon, InHome Delivery customers will be able to return walmart.com items by leaving them on their kitchen counter without labels, boxes or return fees.
Walmart is offering direct-to-fridge deliveries 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.
“We’re obsessed with simplifying grocery shopping and finding ways to make our customers’ lives easier,” Bart Stein, senior VP of membership and InHome at Walmart, said in a blog post announcing the service’s launch. “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.”