Walmart is the latest retailer to now offer grocery delivery straight to your door. This slowly growing trend saves busy families time and effort, and let's face it, there is nothing like having groceries delivered with the click of a button (especially when your list contains bulky items like laundry detergent and dog food). But with Walmart's InHome delivery service, they're seriously changing the game and joining a competitive market of companies that already deliver (AmazonFresh, Thrive Market and Instacart, to name a few). The retailer also has plans to offer grocery delivery from 1,600 stores by the end of the year, so I predict Walmart is in this for the long haul.
Living in New York City, it is a royal pain lugging home groceries multiple times a week (especially with little girls that eat like teenage boys), so I often have groceries delivered. I just love the convenience and flexibility it offers, and so does my poor back. So I must admit I was surprised to learn that only 3 percent of grocery spending takes place online. In a recent article for CNBC, a study by Bain & Co. (in collaboration with Google) revealed Americans have not been as quick to jump on the grocery delivery band wagon when compared to other countries, perhaps because we're still skeptical of someone else picking out our fruit, worrying if the driver will be late, or if we're really getting the most for our money. Ultimately, though, the firm predicts that grocery delivery services will ultimately take off as companies continue to invest in them. Vince Tibone, an analyst at Green Street Advisors tells CNBC, “Over time advances in technology and delivery will gain traction. Grocery stores need to evolve.”
One way Walmart plans to evolve and take e-commerce one step further is just how they plan on delivering your groceries. And I must say, Walmart, this is a bold, innovative decision. With InHome Delivery, a trained associate will deliver your groceries (even if you're not home) and put them away for you in your kitchen or garage fridge. According to a press release from Walmart, with smart entry technology and a proprietary, wearable camera to access the customer’s home, you can actually watch remotely as groceries are delivered into your fridge.
OK, how does the world collectively feel about this? I am all for convenience and just about anything that will make my life easier, but I'm undecided about a stranger in my home re-arranging my fridge. This could be because I'm worried about their reaction as they sift through my disorganized refrigerator, but that's a conversation for another day. Understanding this might be a bit of a stretch for some, Walmart states in their press release that "associates, whose jobs are focused on this service, will also go through an extensive training program which prepares them to enter customers’ homes with the same care and respect with which they would treat a friend's or family’s home – not to mention how to select the freshest grocery items and organize the most efficient refrigerator."
These days, we consumers have more choices than ever before, on just about everything. I'm thrilled to have one more option in the ring for grocery delivery, and I applaud Walmart's effort in this innovative approach. Will I let an associate enter my house to put everything away for me while I'm not there? Time will tell, but I can't say I'm not impressed by Walmart's desire to be cutting edge in the grocery delivery game. This could also be a big game changer for those who find it difficult to move around and carry their groceries, or the parent who lets the groceries sit so long the ice cream melts because children.
Later this year, InHome Delivery will expand even further and accept returns for items purchased on Walmart.com. Customers can leave them on the counter and their InHome Delivery associate will return items on their behalf. Welcome to the future, friends. I'm here for it.