Home-delivered groceries are a huge convenience. But people still have to put them away.
Except for members of Walmart’s new InHome program.
In that case, a Walmart associate will deliver those groceries right to your refrigerator from a plastic bin, leaving behind no bags to throw away. Customers don’t even have to be home.
But is it safe?
Absolutely, according to Whitney Pegden, vice president and general manager of Walmart InHome and associate delivery.
First, a la carte deliveries aren’t allowed, Pegden said. Customers must sign up for monthly membership and agree to a code of conduct, she said. If customers transgress the code, Walmart drops them from the program, Pegden said.
Second, only trained, tenured Walmart associates can deliver for InHome, she said. They must pass background checks, drug screens, driver safety tests and receive extensive training and must have a good employee record with the company, Pegden said.
Third, customers only see the same one or two associates to build trust between customers and associates, Pegden said.
To give an associate access to their home, customers can add a smart lock to their door or garage for $50, which Walmart will install for free, Pegden said. When customers place their orders, Walmart will generate a one-time access code that the associate never sees.
“Basically we show an unlock button they tap to unlock the door,” Pegden said.
Or customers can provide their keypad code at the time of the order and change it after the delivery, Pegden said.
Associates also wear a camera and can’t enter a home until Walmart verifies the camera is on, Pegden said. Customers receive notification that delivery is en route, about to begin, in progress and completed; they also also receive the video to review, Pegden said.
Typically customers only watch the first and second videos, Pegden said.
“They realize the video of putting things away in your refrigerator is relatively boring,” Pegden said.
If something feels “off” at the customer’s home – maybe a dog is barking loudly inside – the associate can halt delivery, Pegden said. The associate also wears a panic button, which alerts the police and Walmart if the associate runs into a problem, Pegden said.
The service is convenient. People who work in-office and get home at 6 p.m. have a stocked refrigerator for cooking dinner, Pegden said. But, remote workers and busy parents like the program, too.
“It’s really nice to be able to just keep on going with what you’re doing while the groceries are getting put away,” Pegden said.
A customer with a Walmart+ membership can add InHome for $7 a month, Pegden said. Otherwise, customers can bundle the two for $19.95 since InHome is an add-on to that program, Pegden said.
Customers can order – and return – unlimited items with their membership, and they won’t need boxes or shipping labels, she said.
“If you buy a shirt from Walmart and it’s the wrong size – or you just don’t want it – you can hand it to us on the doorstop or [an associate] can grab it from inside your kitchen or garage,” Pegden said.
Walmart’s InHome program is available at these store locations: 2424 W Jefferson St, Joliet; 16241 S Farrell Road, Lockport; 420 Weber Road, Romeoville; 1401 Route 59, Shorewood; 501 E Lincoln Hwy, New Lenox; 200 S Bolingbrook Drive, Bolingbrook; and 12690 S Route 59, Plainfield.
For more information, visit inhome.walmart.com.