Would you let Walmart into your home when you’re not there? If the answer is “yes,” you’ll love the new service InHome.
The company’s new and experimental home delivery service, announced on June 7 by Walmart eCommerce U.S President and CEO Marc Lore, will be available in three pilot cities, including Pittsburgh. It allows customers to order groceries online.
But the service then goes much further than the typical e-commerce transaction.
Walmart staff won’t just bring the food to your home. They’ll also come inside and stock your refrigerator with Walmart products. Using the service requires “smart locks” installed on at least one door that can sync with the app. And once inside, the employee activates a body camera that records every step of the process.
Customers can watch the progress live, or check out the recordings via an app.
“These associates, whose jobs are focused on this service, will also go through an extensive training program which prepares them to enter customers’ homes with the same care and respect with which they would treat a friend’s or family’s home,” Walmart announced. “Not to mention how to select the freshest grocery items and organize the most efficient refrigerator.”
Along with Pittsburgh, shoppers in Vero Beach, Fla., and Kansas City will be able to sign up when the service launches this fall. Exact launch dates and pricing for the service have yet to be announced.
For the past several years, the Arkansas-based retail giant has been expanding its online services, a strategy that some observers say reflects growing unease over the rise of Amazon.
Walmart’s brick and mortar retail operation remains much more profitable than Jeff Bezos’s web market, with $374.80 billion in sales last year versus $102.96 for Amazon. But Amazon has made an aggressive push into the grocery business.
In 2017, the company bought Whole Foods Market for $13.4 billion. And Amazon’s own delivery service, Amazonfresh, launched in Pittsburgh and 52 other markets during 2018.