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For many, the most stressful part of grocery shopping is just getting to the store. But, increasingly, that's become less of an issue as more chains are offering home delivery services.
Receiving food at your doorstep like any other package is one thing, but would you allow a stranger to enter your locked home and restock your fridge? Walmart hopes so.
In 2017, the big-box retailer began testing a home delivery service that enabled customers to have food delivered right to their fridges and pantries. On Tuesday, Walmart announced that it had officially launched the service in three cities: Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Vero Beach, Florida.
The service is called Walmart InHome. If the initial launch proves successful, the chain will roll it out to cities nationwide. Instead of just leaving your key under a mat and hoping for the best, Walmart's delivery system involves a bit of smart technology. First, customers must purchase a $50 smart lock (which normally retails for $250) or a smart garage door kit, which Walmart says it will install for free. Then they have to sign up for a subscription service that costs about $20 a month.
When customers place a grocery order online or through the store's app, the delivery person will then be given a unique code to unlock the smart lock during the delivery window provided. That code only works one time (and only during specific hours). There’s also an option that allows people to watch the delivery via livestream from a smartphone. InHome customers must place a minimum order of “$30 per basket” to be eligible for the in-fridge delivery service.
Boxed, Shipt, FreshDirect, Instacart and Peapod all currently deliver groceries straight to your door but none offer a direct-to-fridge service. Currently, Amazon has a service (Amazon Key) that allows packages to be delivered inside one's home, garage or car, but they no longer offer that service for perishable deliveries. However, the Amazon Key program can cost as much as $300, depending on which type of lock is used.
So will the idea of in-fridge delivery catch on?
Many of us were told as children never to get into cars with strangers, but everyone seems to be totally cool with summoning a stranger driving their own vehicle through an app these days, so perhaps letting a stranger peep through one's fridge will soon become commonplace, too.