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Walmart Inc. is betting big on its service to deliver groceries directly into customers’ refrigerators.
The retailer’s InHome delivery option will become available to 30 million U.S. households by the end of the year, five times more than the current level, according to a company statement Jan. 5. Walmart, which hasn’t disclosed how many customers use the service, plans to hire more than 3,000 drivers and build out a fleet of electric delivery vans to support the program.
BrightDrop, the technology company decarbonizing last-mile delivery, announced it is adding Walmart to its growing roster of customers that includes FedEx. Walmart signed an agreement to reserve 5,000 of BrightDrop’s EV600 and smaller EV410 electric delivery vans to support its InHome delivery network and help meet its goal of operating a zero-emissions logistics fleet by 2040.
The expanded availability on InHome signals Walmart’s confidence that Americans are ready to accept employees traipsing through their kitchens and garages in exchange for the convenience of not shopping for and putting away their own groceries. Walmart is vying with a range of grocery services from rivals such as Aldi Stores Ltd. and Amazon.com Inc. as millions of Americans turned to online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.
Walmart has been testing the InHome service for more than two years in Pittsburgh, northwest Arkansas and other locales. This year, it will become available in Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas. Amazon last year expanded its service delivering groceries into garages.
InHome customers can grant one-time access to Walmart employees by using a garage keypad, an existing smart lock or an InHome lock that costs about $50. The delivery service costs $19.95 a month or $148 a year. Employees earn an extra $1.50 an hour compared with most store roles.
Shares of Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart rose as much as 2.8% in New York, their biggest intraday gain since June 30.
A BrightDrop EV600 electric truck that Walmart will use for its InHome delivery service. (Jim Frenak/FPI Studios)
BrightDrop’s electric vans may begin hitting the road for Walmart deliveries as early as 2023. The retailer also plans to use electric vans to enable secure and low-emissions deliveries for third-party retailers and brands via Walmart GoLocal, Walmart’s white-labeled delivery as a service business.
Walmart ranks No. 3 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.
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