Need to Know
- Two of the world’s largest retailers are both expanding their in-home grocery delivery programs, which offer the option for delivery staff to enter a customer’s home to drop off groceries when they aren’t in.
- Walmart’s InHome Delivery program lets employees deliver groceries directly in customers’ refrigerators, while Amazon’s program has delivery staff drop groceries off in customers’ garages.
- Despite the pandemic keeping more people at home, both programs have proven popular and are expanding to more locations across the US.
- As leaders in retail innovation, both Amazon and Walmart have a number of retail programs underway to make delivery and grocery shopping more efficient.
Amazon and Walmart are getting even more personal with loyal shoppers who use their delivery services. The two leading retailers in the world have expanded delivery options that allow delivery staff to enter their homes or garages to drop off groceries.
In the fall of 2019, Walmart began testing its InHome Delivery program, in which Walmart employees would deliver groceries directly to the fridges of customers while they were out. And last spring, the program expanded the services to allow for returns via kitchen counter, with no box or label required.
Despite the pandemic, the program has continued to grow and InHome will now become available in Northwest Arkansas, while Southeast Florida and Atlanta will be added in July.
“Grocery delivery was niche, and now it’s very mainstream,” said Whitney Pegden, a Walmart vice president and the general manager for InHome. “Now we have a large group of consumers used to it, and they’re starting to return to normal life and running into the issue of having to be home during deliveries. So the timing is really ripe for our service.”
Walmart’s program was likely designed to compete with Amazon’s in-home delivery services.
The popular online marketplace also announced this week the expansion of its in-garage delivery program. The Key In-Garage Grocery Delivery program launched in five cities last fall and is now expanding to include over 5,000 cities.
“Customers who tried Key In-Garage Grocery Delivery have loved the service, which is why we’re expanding it to everywhere Amazon offers grocery delivery,” said Pete Gerstberger, head of Key by Amazon. “As customers look for more convenience in their daily lives, we’re excited to deliver another service that not only helps them save time, but provides peace of mind knowing that tonight’s dinner is safe in their garage and out of the weather.”
Using a compatible garage door opener, customers can offer one-time access to Amazon delivery drivers to drop off groceries from Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods in the customer’s garage. Customers can use a smart home camera to watch the delivery too if they choose.
Both Walmart and Amazon’s programs are perks for subscribers. Amazon’s program is free for eligible Prime members. While Walmart+ members can receive free grocery delivery to their front door, the InHome program costs $20 per month.
Walmart last week announced a partnership with GM to launch a self-driving delivery vehicle. In response to the massive growth of online ordering in the past year, the mega-retailer is also increasing its fulfillment capacity both in existing stores and with the development of new fulfillment centers.
Also experimenting with new ways of operating retail, Amazon has begun testing its Just Walk Out technology, which allows shoppers to simply walk out with their purchases when they are finished — no cashier or self-checkout required.