will soon deliver groceries to your fridge
Walmart employees will soon deliver groceries straight to customers' refrigerators when they aren't home, Walmart announced Friday.
The workers will wear body cameras during deliveries so customers can monitor them as they enter their homes and deliver their goods, the company said. The Walmart workers will also be able to complete returns for customers by transporting items back to Walmart stores on their behalf.
The new service, called Walmart InHome Delivery, is rolling out to more than one million customers this fall in three markets: Kansas City, Missouri; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Vero Beach, Florida. Walmart has plans to "learn and scale from there," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement.
Walmart workers will gain access to customers' homes using smart lock technology controlled from a mobile phone. Customers who want to participate in Walmart InHome Delivery will need to purchase the smart locks from Walmart, a spokeswoman told Business Insider. The company did not provide further details on the smart locks and said that more information would be available later this year.
Walmart will train workers to organize food in refrigerators
Walmart employees who have worked for the company for at least one year will have the option to apply for the InHome Delivery roles later this year. Employees chosen for the roles will go through a training program that will teach them how to best organize food in a refrigerator and prepare them to "enter customers' homes with the same care and respect with which they would treat a friend's or family's home," Walmart e-commerce CEO Marc Lore said in a blog post about the new service.
The delivery employees will wear specialized uniforms and drive in Walmart-owned cars that will be branded with the Walmart name. Their roles will be focused primarily on deliveries. However, if they have downtime between trips, they may be called to help in other areas of the store, a Walmart spokeswoman said.
Here's how deliveries will work: first, a customer will place an order online for InHome Delivery. The order will be filled by Walmart's online grocery team, then picked up by an InHome Delivery associate.
Customers will get an alert when the delivery worker is headed to their home. The alert will share a photo of the delivery associate and some "fun facts" about them, including how long they have been with Walmart, a spokeswoman said. Once the employee arrives at the destination, they will need to turn on their body camera to gain access to the customer's home through the smart lock system. At that point, the customer will have the option to view delivery through the lens of the body camera. This will allow them to watch as the worker moves through their home, unloads groceries into their kitchen, and leaves. Customers will also have the option to remotely deny entry to Walmart employees at any point ahead of delivery.
The InHome Delivery team is led by Bart Stein, who joined Walmart in January 2018. Stein's team conducted its first test of the delivery program in New Jersey over a five-month period.
"Once we learned how to do pickup well, we knew it would unlock the ability to deliver," McMillon, the Walmart CEO, said of the new service. "But what if we not only cover the last mile to customers' homes but even the last few steps? What if we put their groceries away inside their kitchens or garages? Imagine keeping homes in stock like we do stores.