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Walmart Is Suspending This Delivery Service

At least temporarily, the new InHome delivery services will be sidelined amid COVID-19

Last fall, Walmart rolled out a new home delivery subscription service for shoppers who want the convenience of having their groceries delivered and unpacked by someone else in their own kitchens. The Arkansas-based retail giant piloted the InHome delivery service in a handful of markets across the U.S., but now, the company is switching gears. Even though Walmart is among the many national chains that have ramped up home delivery options amid COVID-19 concerns, this premium InHome route simply isn't compliant with the new contactless way of life.  

Moving forward, Walmart will deliver groceries to consumers who previously signed up for the InHome delivery service to their front doors via "Doorstep Delivery," according to reporting by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The Doorstep option, in which Walmart leaves the groceries outside, is a stop-gap delivery service while InHome services are paused. (For the record: InHome—and now Doorstep—isn't Walmart's only delivery option. In fact, the company has two more. In May, Walmart launched Express Delivery, which guarantees home delivery within two hours—in select locations—for purchases that total more than $35 and charges a fee per delivery; and there's the subscription-based "Delivery Unlimited" option, which offers the same services as Express at a monthly fee of $12.95 in place of the per-delivery charges.)

The InHome service, however, was unique in that it allowed their associates to enter a shopper's private residence and unpack groceries purchased online even when customers weren't at home. Walmart employees would access people's houses by using a special smart lock. (As a safety measure, Walmart reps would wear body cameras that would be switched on before they were allowed to enter a customer's home.)

The service officially launched last fall for more than 1 million customers who paid $19.95 per month across three cities: Kansas City, Missouri; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Vero Beach, Florida.

But citing customer and associate safety amid the pandemic began, Walmart has suspended or changed the service in the various markets where it is being piloted. In Kansas City, InHome Deliveries are currently made either to the customer's doorstep (for those who have the home lock installed) or inside a garage refrigerator. Vero Beach is currently doorstep only, while in-home and garage deliveries are still available in Pittsburgh.

Though Walmart has not publicly revealed how successful the InHome service has been since its rollout last fall, it must have been popular enough—because it's not actually going away for good. "We'll be resuming deliveries into kitchens soon," the company said, according to the Democrat-Gazette.

It's easy to understand why. Since the onset of the coronavirus, Walmart has seen a surge in sales for both home delivery and curbside pick-up services. During a recent investor call, Walmart's Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs boasted of nearly doubled online sales during the second quarter, which has led the company to expand its same-day delivery options and pick-up services. And for more changes to expect from your favorite retailer-slash-grocery-store, see how Walmart Is Testing A New Service to Make Your Grocery Shopping Even Easier.

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