Retail giant Walmart is upping its grocery game with two new offerings: an unlimited grocery delivery subscription service for $98 a year, or $12.95 a month, and InHome store-to-refrigerator personal delivery. Walmart has not officially announced or confirmed its unlimited grocery delivery service yet. However, TechCrunch reports that Delivery Unlimited allows Walmart grocery customers to pay an annual or monthly fee instead of a per-order grocery delivery fee, following a 15-day free trial period. Customers will order their groceries online or through the Walmart app and choose a timeframe for grocery delivery.
AmazonFresh offers a similar service to its Prime members for $14.99 a month. This charge is considered an add-on and is billed separately from the Prime membership. A minimum purchase of $35 is required to avoid a separate delivery fee of $9.99 per grocery order. Target, who acquired Shipt in 2017, recently announced a new same day delivery service of groceries and other essential items. Target offers a free four-week trial. After that, Target shoppers can pay a per-order delivery fee or subscribe to an annual plan via Shipt for $99 a year.
In related news, last week Walmart officially announced its new InHome store-to-refrigerator service.
You can be anywhere you want, but you dont have to be home. We deliver fresh groceries from your local store, to your kitchen or garage. Literally. Directly into your fridge. Where they belong. Introducing InHome. A new convenience from Walmart, says the Walmart website.
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Heres how the new service will work:
- Customers in cities where InHome is available place their order online, choose the InHome delivery option, and choose the day they want their groceries delivered.
- A Walmart associate will shop for the customers groceries.
- A Walmart associate will deliver the groceries to the customers refrigerator. They will access the customers home through the front door or garage using smart entry technology, a one-time access code and a proprietary camera, so the customer can watch the groceries as they are being delivered.
Walmart says their associates will be highly trained to choose the best groceries for their customers, how to organize a refrigerator efficiently and how to treat their customers homes as if they were their own. Selected associates must have been with the company for at least a year, says Walmarts InHome FAQs.
Starting this fall, InHome grocery delivery will be available in three cities including Kansas City, Missouri; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Vero Beach, Florida. Walmart has not yet announced pricing for this new grocery delivery service.
Later this year, Walmart will use the same technology to allow customers to return past purchases without having to go to a Walmart store. They will simply leave the returned item in a designated location at their home, and an associate will come pick up the item.
Part of our core eCommerce strategy is to innovate for the future and leverage our unique assets. The technology powering InHome Delivery combines the power of our store footprint, store associates and world-class fresh supply chain. Now we can serve customers not just in the last mile, but in the last 15 feet, says Walmart in their June 7 announcement.
The eCommerce grocery market is heating up with big players like Walmart, Amazon and Target competing against each other. They each offer a similar grocery delivery service but in different markets and with their own take. AmazonFresh restricts its subscription to Prime members, Target offers per-order or an annual fee, and Walmart offers unlimited delivery with an annual fee and in-home delivery. With similar services and competitive pricing, these retailers will differentiate themselves through execution and customer loyalty.
As for the InHome grocery delivery service, we are skeptical. While in-home, unattended delivery is being tested by Amazon, it is relatively new, and we arent convinced that consumers are ready to let strangers into their homes in the name of convenience. As an AmazonFresh customer, getting the groceries to my doorstep is about as close as I’d like a retailer to come.