BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart is ready to deliver groceries straight to your refrigerator or kitchen counter.
After a six-month test in New Jersey, Walmart U.S. ecommerce CEO Marc Lore said the retailer now understands the level of trust customers need to let a stranger into their homes.
The InHome service will begin this fall, reaching a combined 1 million households in Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Vero Beach, Fla.
Walmart already has the infrastructure in more than 3,000 stores to fill online orders both for curbside and delivery, so taking an additional step inside the home is doable, Lore said.
“From a cost perspective, it’s not that different for us,” he said. “But it’s a huge additional value for the customer.”
Bart Stein, CEO of the Walmart InHome project, said the test included customers who were both skeptics and believers in the concept.
Here’s what the experience told them:
People want Walmart employees making the deliveries. So the service will be carried out by employees who have been with the company at least a year. They will make the deliveries in Walmart-owned cars.
Employees will wear a camera that records their visit into the house. Customers can watch it live on their phones or later. If the camera isn’t turned on, access is denied.
Walmart didn’t release information yet on the smart locks that would allow its employees into a house or garage. Every visit will have a one-time code. Stein’s team created the technology in-house, but there will be partners announced later.
Pricing is also still being worked out.
In the test, Stein said, skeptics were converted into believers.
Lore and Stein announced the details Thursday to reporters in Bentonville for the company’s annual meeting.
Lore likened the service’s trust hurdle to the Airbnb experience. Before the home sharing service became popular, he said, he wouldn’t have been comfortable letting “a stranger sleep in my bedroom.”