Are American consumers ready to welcome Walmart into their refrigerators? The retailer, which announced its InHome Delivery service a few months ago, is officially rolling out the offer, now available to some one million customers in Pittsburgh, Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas) and Vero Beach, Florida.
The company, which has been racing to catch up with Amazon in all things grocery and home delivery, hopes the service will overcome one of the biggest hurdles in e-grocery shopping: making sure the milk you ordered doesn’t sit curdling on your doorstep, or porch pirates don’t abscond with your perishables.
To use the service, customers select either the kitchen or garage fridge as a delivery spot, and pay $49.95 for the corresponding smart device. Installation of the lock is free. Customers then pay $19.95 per month, and the first month in the pilot is free.
Walmart associates can then open the smartlocks, sashay into consumers’ homes and put groceries in the fridge and freezer. While doing so, they wear a camera that lets customers watch the deliveries remotely to make sure there’s no funny business.
The service “is just the first step for InHome Delivery and an important part of Walmart’s overall promise to leverage our unique assets to serve customers in ways that only Walmart can and innovate for the future,” writes Bart Stein, senior vice president of membership and InHome, in a blog post announcing the kickoff. “It is a natural complement to our existing suite of grocery options, from shopping in store to Grocery Pickup and Delivery, including our recently expanded Delivery Unlimited membership.”
Amazon’s service, Key by Amazon, which includes in-home, in-car, and in-garage delivery, is currently available to Prime members in 50 U.S. cities and surrounding areas. Non-Prime members anywhere in the U.S. can use Key for Home and Key for Garage for secure access management, says an Amazon spokesperson.
Amazon’s Key in-home delivery requires a different hardware set-up. Consumers either need a compatible smart lock and Amazon Cloud Cam, or a Schlage Encode WiFi lock, in which case the Cloud Cam is optional. “Key in-garage delivery requires a myQ-compatible garage door opener, and using a Cloud Cam is optional.”
Either way, both services face considerable consumer resistance, as consumers weigh the risks of porch-piracy and melted ice cream against letting strangers into their home.
Early last year, Insurancequotes.com polled people about how likely they are to use Amazon Key. Some 76% of women said they would not be willing to try it. Prime members were slightly more open: 34.3% versus 26.1% non-Prime members. Theft is the biggest fear, with 80% expressing that concern, followed by privacy breach and malicious destruction of personal property.