Giant Retailer Walmart's Latest E-Commerce Salvo: Straight to Fridge Delivery

Walmart has fired a big salvo in the battle over the delivery retail market. While competitors e-commerce giant Amazon and retailer Target focus on quick deliver times and pick up options, Walmart is now offering a personalized, rapid ‘white glove’ service.
Yesterday the company announced a new in-home delivery service aimed at time strapped customers. Customers can purchase groceries online and select a delivery day. Walmart will pack and deliver the customer’s order straight to a fridge in a customer’s kitchen or garage. For security, Walmart’s employees will wear a camera when they enter customers’ homes, allowing shoppers to view the process live from their phones. Customers won’t have to pay for the camera, but they will have to purchase a special door lock. Walmart has not stated how much the lock will cost, nor how much customers will have to pay for online-to-fridge delivery. In addition to placing purchases in the fridge, later this year the company will begin retrieving shopper returns. Customers will be able to leave their returns from Walmart’s website on their counter and after completing the current delivery, the employee will bring the item back to the store.
Walmart successfully tested the new service in New Jersey for five months. They are now slowly rolling out the service to more locations. By fall, the option will be available to over a million customers in Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Vero Beach, Florida.
Walmart tried in home delivery before. In 2017, Walmart partnered with smart-security lock maker August, to offer in-home service. However Walmart didn’t continue the service after the initial pilot program came to an end. Also in 2017, Amazon launched their in home delivery service Key. While Key has a loyal following, it hasn’t been particularly been successful.
Grocery business makes up more than half of Walmart’s annual billion dollar sales. The company’s hoping that the new service could be a big boost to Walmart dominance. There’s a chance that the service will attract a certain class of customer that appreciates low prices, but tends to not shop at Walmart.
The biggest barrier Walmart faces with its new service is that most people feel uncomfortable with strangers in their homes. Walmart executive Bart Stein, who’s driving the in-home delivery initiative, acknowledged some customers during the pilot test were skeptical of the concept in the beginning. But he said Walmart had been able to change opinions once customers utilized the service. “We really saw the tables turn after one delivery during our pilot testing around how people would trust a service like that,” he said.
The company is trying to alleviate customer concerns about the service by providing customers with a biography containing three fun facts about their delivery employees. Walmart workers who’ve been at the company for at least a year can apply for the in-home delivery position. If they get the job, they will undergo training and the role will become their main responsibility.
Walmart hasn’t said how many employees will be diverted to these new delivery jobs, but it’s another skilled position the retailer has created as new technology emerges. In the last few years, Walmart has created 30,000 “personal shopper” jobs in stores who select groceries for customers’ online pickup and delivery orders. Addiotionally Walmart has also added thousands of grocery pickup locations from stores, same-day home delivery options and introduced voice ordering for groceries off Google Assistant.
Busy customers have come to expect omni-channel services from companies they patronize. If your company doesn’t offer such services, there’s a chance you will lose out on business to more savvy competitors.
Sintel Systems is a global leader in omni channel solutions for the food industry. We offer a wide range of tailor-made pos solutions which include: Fast Food and QSRFrozen YogurtBakeries / Doughnut Shops and Coffee Shops.