- Walmart announced Wednesday that it has rolled its InHome Delivery Service, which brings grocery orders to consumers’ refrigerators, into the retailer’s Walmart+ membership program.
- The retailer has also expanded InHome to cities including Miami; Dallas; San Francisco; Tampa and Orlando, Florida; Austin, Texas; San Jose, California, in a move that almost doubles the geographic reach of the service.
- Walmart is streamlining and expanding delivery options as retailers increasingly focus on convenience to strengthen ties with shoppers.
Walmart’s decision to integrate the InHome program with Walmart+ positions what was once a small-scale experiment as a mainstream feature for millions of the company’s e-commerce customers.
Shoppers in regions where Walmart offers the service can now sign up for the InHome delivery program when they set up a Walmart+ account instead of having to register for the services separately. Walmart is offering unlimited fee- and tip-free deliveries through InHome for an extra $7 per month or $40 annually on top of the base charge for Walmart+, which costs $12.95 monthly or $98 per year. An annual subscription to both services now costs $138, or $10 less than what people paid for the programs when they were discrete from one another, Walmart said.
Walmart+ subscribers who opt for the InHome the service allow a Walmart driver to access their home while they are out with a single-use code and put their purchases into a refrigerator or elsewhere in the kitchen. Workers record the delivery process with a vest-mounted camera, and customers can access the footage for up to a week.
Walmart launched InHome in 2019 following a trial it conducted in 2017 with a handful of shoppers in partnership with Silicon Valley smart home technology startup August Home. In January, Walmart announced plans to make the service available to 30 million U.S. households by the end of 2022, up from 6 million at the start of the year.
Also in January, Walmart began working with tech startup HomeValet to sell unattended, temperature-controlled storage units to InHome customers in parts of Florida. The boxes, which are designed to be placed outside a customer’s home, allow delivery workers to leave groceries securely without entering the premises.
Walmart said in May that its e-commerce sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2023 were up 38% compared with the same period two years ago.
The retailer, which rolled out Walmart+ in 2020 as an answer to Amazon Prime, expects to hire more than 3,000 drivers in 2022 and has reserved 5,000 electric vans from logistics company BrightDrop.
Walmart’s InHome announcement came the same day that Amazon said it will offer a free year-long membership to restaurant delivery service Grubhub. Amazon also disclosed it has an opportunity to take a 2% stake in Just Eat Takeaway.com, the Dutch company that runs Grubhub and other food delivery firms.
Amazon Prime members in certain areas can also opt to receive grocery deliveries from Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods Market in their garage when they are not at home through a program known as Key by Amazon.