Attention Walmart food shoppers: soon, a Walmart (WMT) worker will be able to deliver groceries right to your fridge or basement even if you aren’t home.
The retailer, which is the largest U.S. grocer with 2018 food sales of $184.2 billion, will announce later on Friday that InHome Delivery, as the service will be called, will be available to customers in Kansas City, Mo., Pittsburgh, and Vero Beach, Fla., in the fall, with an expansion to more markets later on very likely.
During the online ordering process, customers will choose a delivery date (as early as the following day). Once the order is ready to ship, the delivery person will enter the home using smart entry technology that will include a camera so the customer can supervise the delivery remotely.
The initiative, codenamed “Project Franklin” and led by serial tech entrepreneur Bart Stein, who joined Walmart in February, will go live roughly two years after Walmart first announced its plan to offer an in-home delivery service. But contrary to its initial testing, which outsourced deliveries to Deliv, InHome will use only Walmart staff dedicated specifically to that service.
The project is the latest maneuver in Walmart’s grocery delivery war with Amazon.com. (AMZN)In its most recent quarter, Walmart reported U.S. e-commerce revenue rose 37% so it is looking to leverage the tool that gives it its biggest edge over Amazon, whose overall U.S. e-commerce sales are eight times greater than Walmart’s, according to eMarketer: Walmart’s thousands of stores. They serve as nodes in a network for grocery delivery that Amazon has yet to match.
Walmart now offers grocery pickup at 3,100 stores and by year-end, will offer same-day grocery delivery at 1,600 stores. Still, in overall merchandise, Amazon is formidable: Walmart last month announced it would offer free one-day delivery on many items for orders over $35, a move to try to match Amazon’s speed.
Walmart’s announcement was short on specifics about the InHome service, including price, the smart lock provider, and which markets will be next, but a spokesperson said those details will be announced closer to the three-market launch.
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