Walmart (WMT) is going on “offense” in the delivery wars with its newest offering — a store associate who puts your groceries away neatly in your refrigerator, even when you’re not home.
On Tuesday ahead of Walmart’s shareholders’ meeting, the retailer debuted its InHome Delivery service, in which a Walmart associate acts as a personal shopper by delivering grocery orders to private homes.
“Once we learned how to do pickup well, we knew it would unlock the ability to deliver,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in his prepared remarks at the shareholders’ meeting.
“But what if we not only cover the last mile to customers’ homes but even the last few steps? What if we put their groceries away inside their kitchens or garages?” he asked. “Imagine keeping homes in stock like we do stores.”
InHome Delivery starts this fall in Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Vero Beach, covering a population of nearly 1 million customers.
“We’ll learn, and scale from there,” McMillon added.
Here’s how InHome works: A Walmart shopper places their grocery order on the website or app and upon checking out they select InHome Delivery and the day they want the items delivered.
Next, Walmart uses its existing online grocery personal shoppers to pick and prepare the order, and the customer receives a status update along the way. A “vetted” associate who has been with the company for at least a year picks up the order and delivers it to the customer’s home. The associate uses smart access technology to enter the garage or kitchen.
That person will have a wearable camera on their chest that acts as a “physical check” or two-step verification, and won’t be able to access the home if the camera is not streaming or recording.
The customer can watch remotely as the order is placed in the refrigerator, and they also get access to a replay. The associate will then lock the door or close the garage and notify the customer.
Via https://newsapi.org online business online marketing online business opportunities Building on grocery offerings
The “mastermind” behind InHome is Bart Stein who joined Walmart through an acquisition in 2018. He quickly began working on InHome Delivery, a mission dubbed internally as “Project Franklin.”
Related: 5 biggest mistakes shoppers make, according to Walmart employees
5 biggest mistakes shoppers make, according to Walmart employees
Making assumptions about the services offered at your local store
Walmartdoes offer product care plans and a trade-in program that allows shoppers to exchange devices for gift cards.
But one Walmart employee of nine years told Business Insider that it was a mistake for customers to just assume “we have an electronics repair facility here.”
If you’re in doubt, it’s best to skip the wild goose chase and try calling ahead.
Failing to plan out your shopping trips
Shopping for a big holiday weekend blowout?
Well, just assume that everyone else is following suit.
An associate of 12 years told Business Insider that it was a mistake to wait “until the last minute to shop,” especially when it comes to busier times of the week or year.
The employee added that some shoppers fail to understand that “they aren’t the only people that will show up. So, yes, there will be lines at the registers. Plan better — plan early.”
A Reddit poster who said they worked in the electronics department at Walmart noted that Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays typically garner the biggestcrowds.
Skipping an important return hack
If you end up ordering an item on Walmart.com that you don’t actually want, you can return it through the chain’s mobile express returns system.
“You just get a QR code from your Walmart app, bring your item to the store, skip the line, and scan your QR code on the credit card machine,” according toThe Krazy Coupon Lady.
Being mean to Walmart associates
A Walmart employee of 15 years said that “being mean” to the employees at Walmart is probably the biggest mistake a shopper can make.
“If you are nice to them, they will bend over backwards to help you,” the employee told Business Insider.
That means acting courteously and not threatening to “contact management or the home office” when something goes wrong that’s outside of the employees’ control, according to an associate of 11 years.
“Unfortunately, there is a bad stigma surrounding Walmart employees,” former Walmart employee Crystal Linn wrote onQuora.
They added that customers sometimes buy into that bias and treat the associates as “ignorant high school drop-outs.”
“I even had a woman ask me once, ‘Do you even know what an electric can opener is?’ after I showed her where the handheld ones were located,” Linn wrote. “Not everyone is like this, of course, but it seems that the large majority have this idea in their mind that anyone that works at Walmart is trashy. The way that people treat you because of that really wears you down.”
Forgetting to check for markdowns
Want to save some money on your next Walmart run? Watch out for the prices.
Specifically, keep an eye out for price tags ending in 0 or 1.
According to an interview with a Walmart store manager on The Krazy Coupon Lady, a pricetag ending with a 0 or a 1 denotes a “final markdown price.” Meanwhile, the store manager told the blog that prices ending in 5 “are the first markdown price.”
“[It] worked really well, so well in fact, that we decided we were going to launch it,” Marc Lore, CEO of eCommerce U.S, said.
According to Lore, it fits as part of the broader e-commerce strategy. A key pillar of that strategy is leveraging “unique assets to play offense,” and in the case of Walmart, that means the 4,700 stores.
“We think this is a great extension of what we are already doing for same-day grocery pickup and same-day grocery delivery,” Lore said.
“We think this is an area where we can play offense and something only we can do. We are using our Walmart associates to do it,” he added.
Stein, the GM of InHome, noted that the associates go through extensive training for the service.
“They’re specifically trained for this InHome program, so they know how to deal with things big and small, they even how to organize a messy fridge,” he said.
Via https://newsapi.org online business online marketing online business opportunities ‘Exciting…today and tomorrow’
Walmart, which sees more than half of its revenues from grocery, has been aggressive in that business.
Meanwhile, the retailer has embraced new technologies like robots to complete more mundane tasks within its fleet of U.S. stores. It frees up its associates to do more specialized work— like fulfilling online grocery orders in newly created roles called “personal shoppers.”
Presently, 2,450 Walmart stores in the U.S. feature grocery pickup and 1,000 stores offer grocery delivery. By year-end, Walmart expects to have grocery pickup at 3,100 stores and same-day grocery delivery from 1,600, covering approximately 80% and 50% of the U.S. population, respectively.
When InHome Delivery begins it will open up more opportunities when it comes to delivery such as returns.
“Shortly after we roll the service out, we’re actually going to let InHome customers return items they’ve purchased from Walmart.com by simply leaving it in their kitchen or in their garage and that associate will pick it up for them on their behalf and bring it back to the store,” Stein said.
“This service isn’t just exciting today. It’s going to be exciting tomorrow.”
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