Are Walmart+ members ready to invite the retailer into their homes?

Discussion
Photo: Walmart
Jul 07, 2022

Walmart wants its Walmart+ customers to provide access to their refrigerators. The retail giant is now offering a way for its members to combine their Walmart+ membership with the chain’s InHome Delivery Service without breaking the bank.

Walmart+ members, who pay $98 a year or $12.95 a month, may now add InHome for an extra $40 per year or $7 a month. InHome members, who pay $148 a year for the service, can add it to a Walmart+ membership and save $10 a year. The InHome service doesn’t involve any additional fees and is tip-free.

“When Walmart+ members ask for something, we work around the clock to make it happen for them,” Chris Cracchiolo, senior vice president & general manager of Walmart+, said in a statement. “Our members want options and a shopping experience that is easy to navigate and accommodates their individual needs, while saving them time and money — this is true now more than ever.”

Walmart yesterday said that it is expanding InHome to Austin, Dallas, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, San Jose and Tampa. The additional markets will nearly double the service’s geographical footprint.

Are Walmart+ members ready to invite the retailer into their homes?
Photo: Walmart

“InHome has one of the highest customer experience ratings in the business, and now we’ve made it even easier to access in even more locations as we grow to reach over 30 million households by the end of the year,” said Whitney Pegden, vice president and general manager, InHome at Walmart.

The retailer announced in January its plans to rapidly expand InHome to markets across the country. Walmart said it would hire and train more than 3,000 associate delivery drivers and build out a fleet of 100 percent all-electric delivery vans to scale the service.

Customers enrolled in Walmart’s program place orders through the retailer’s mobile app and select InHome as the delivery option. Delivery associates use smart entry technology to enter the garages or homes of customers. Their actions are tracked by way of wearable cameras. While Walmart typically uses third-party couriers to deliver groceries, only specially trained employees work in the InHome program.

Walmart launched InHome in 2019 and rolled out Walmart+ in 2020.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect that large numbers of Walmart+ and InHome Delivery Service customers will combine their memberships? What will these dual membership customers mean for Walmart?

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"I am truly surprised that InHome is expanding as it seems rather invasive to me and difficult to grow and expand profitably."

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24 Comments on "Are Walmart+ members ready to invite the retailer into their homes?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

I never thought this service would take off when it was first introduced, but I stand corrected. This is a service that a good number of consumers seem to actually want, and Walmart’s market expansion is clear evidence of that. Creating greater value from memberships is not only critical for acquiring new members but, in this inflationary period, it’s just as important to retain existing members. This program has the potential to do both for Walmart.

Dion Kenney
BrainTrust
4 months 20 days ago

There is a pervasive, and not unwarranted, concern about giving access to powerful companies. While access to our private information is of foremost concern, access to our living space seems like a bridge too far. On paper it may sound like a good idea, but this is likely to get too much resistance to be a viable plan.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Walmart+ is a necessary service for Walmart to be in the game against Prime. The real game-changer for Walmart is to get more people on board with InHome.

While all major online services will adapt to a system of in-home delivery (including UPS, FedEx, and even USPS), if Walmart can lock up the service in the customer’s mind they will be hard to catch — at least in grocery.

The significant expansion by Walmart of InHome tells us that this is a successful endeavor. Those who hesitate to join today (“I don’t want anyone having access to my home or even my garage”) will slowly throw away their hesitancy as they hear of their friends’ and neighbors’ experiences with InHome. This is another step into the future of servicing the customer.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

Color me (still) skeptical that this will truly scale. It won’t take much for one bad in-home incident to go viral and scare the small number of people who aren’t already leery of this service away for good.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

I’m trying to picture myself back in the day as a working husband and father with two kids, and this sounds incredible. What a gift to find a couple of hours a week that don’t have to be spent in the grocery store with two kids in tow. And then I think about safety and security. How do I get to a level of trust to get comfortable with the exposure this creates? Because it’s Walmart and not Joe’s Market? Because it’s probably certified and insured up one side and down the other? Maybe. But for today, yes, this will succeed. Because this is a whole new paradigm, for both shopping and living in general. Progress and evolution just go on about their merry way, not much caring about my personal opinion.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

This is a service that divides opinion. Some people think it’s great, others steadfastly refuse to allow people into their homes. I fit into the latter category, but see no harm in Walmart offering this for those that want it. My only caution is that it only takes one incident – breach of privacy, theft, etc. – from this type of service to generate loads of bad publicity. As such, I sincerely hope Walmart has put in place all the of necessary security checks and provisions.

Katie Thomas
BrainTrust

Agreed – yet I also keep thinking of Uber. While it seemed insane at one point to get into a stranger’s car (or stay at a stranger’s house, a la Airbnb), it’s been a successful model. And those companies have dealt with significant issues around theft, assault, and the like. But I agree that Walmart will likely be held to a higher standard from the outset than these “start-ups/disruptors.”

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

Walmart is moving closer to bundling the InHome and Walmart+ services and this is just a migration step for existing customers. This group of customers have already been targeted as willing to pay more for Walmart services and will be offered white glove treatment over time.

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

We just completed a study that showed that consumers were (surprisingly) very open to retailers coming into their homes and helping with support for goods they purchase. So I definitely understand why Walmart is doing this: it’s working. But I have to question the product solution offered. Grocery? Or putting away groceries? It has worked for years for Best Buy and Geek Squad with CE and if you’ve ever used Geek Squad, you know — it really works. But again, grocery? Getting groceries to a home is one thing, but having someone peruse the refrigerator and pantry is a whole ‘nuther ballgame. Unless of course you’re elderly or infirm.

Anyway it’s an idea that, given what we know, will work. But I think the scale of it depends heavily on what it is you’re going in there for. Great effort though, I like it a lot — for sure.

Dave Wendland
BrainTrust

For some, this will be welcomed. For others (many others), they won’t want a retailer — even Walmart — in their homes. I personally don’t give this concept a long shelf life.

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

The answer is still no. Maybe it’s generational, but I really don’t want delivery people in my house or in my refrigerator.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust
Richard Hernandez
Merchant Director
4 months 20 days ago

We have discussed this a few time already, and my answer is still no. I do remember someone — Amazon maybe? That was going to have temperature controlled containers with a digital lock where they would be able to place the order in the container. Does anyone know what happened to that project?

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

It was Walmart, and I was okay with that one. I have no idea where it went. Likely refrigeration and theft were the big issues.

Kathleen Fischer
BrainTrust

I am truly surprised that InHome is expanding as it seems rather invasive to me and difficult to grow and expand profitably.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Apparently, enough people don’t think it is invasive. Walmart is not dumb.

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

Walmart is not dumb, but it has made serious mistakes before. We all do, corporations and people, both.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

We have had this conversation many times before. Yes, I know that there are people who will allow random Walmart employees into their homes and their refrigerators but I am not one of them. Nope. Never gonna happen.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

The short answer is no. Beside the standard security concerns, I am not sure people are yet ready to allow people who they don’t know into their homes until all the concerns about the pandemic subside.

David Spear
BrainTrust

InHome will provide Walmart with tremendous insights into consumers’ lives that they’ve never seen before, and there will be an initial foundation of eager shoppers who will happily pay for this service, but before anyone says this will be a home-run, I’m a bit skeptical that the masses of Walmart shoppers willing to open their homes for this service. I predict an initial ramp up and then a slow uphill climb. The question becomes, will Walmart continue to invest in a slow-grow program or divert investment to other programs?

John Karolefski
BrainTrust

I am shocked that anyone would allow a delivery person to enter their home to stock their pantry or fridge. Talk about an invasion of privacy! But apparently some folks sign on. I can see this scheme unraveling in a few ways. One: “My Ming dynasty vase is missing.” Two: “Oh, I forgot to tell you about my rottweiler.”

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Walmart is expanding InHome to Austin, Dallas, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, San Jose, and Tampa. The additional markets will nearly double the service’s geographical footprint. If it wasn’t working, they wouldn’t do it. This is a significant expansion!

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

I’m guessing that this is generational. Boomers won’t like the idea of allowing strangers into the house, but Gen Xers who rely on delivery for a number of categories may like it. Walmart is smart to try this.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

Despite Walmart’s PR story, this still seems like a service in search of a customer. Sure, there are some customers willing to allow a Walmart delivery person into their home to stock their groceries, but just how large a target market can this be? I doubt it’s large enough in any one market.

I find it most interesting that Walmart focuses on the “reach” potential for the service rather than how many subscribers they currently have with it. Have they ever reported numbers for that? We all know what it means when a subscription service doesn’t tell you how many subscribers there are. However, combining this service with Walmart+ is a natural move and one that makes every bit of sense. Most likely, customers using the InHome service were not Walmart+ subscribers and now they have an incentive to become one — and perhaps this was the goal all along, to grow Walmart+ subscription counts!

Christina Cooley
Guest
I’ve been a fan of Walmart+ from the beginning, but I’m not sure if I want Walmart, or any retailer, entering my house to put my groceries away for me. However, there is definitely a large group of customers that can benefit greatly from this service! Already providing so much convenience in delivering groceries to your door, this service takes it up a notch with a Walmart employee (instead of a delivery service) coming into your home, putting groceries away, and taking back any returns you have. For many, I would think this will be a very welcomed service. In addition, the price isn’t much different than what I pay for the current Walmart+ and a huge reason for that is there’s no tipping. It’s not currently offered where I live, but I will be closely watching the continued rollout. I do believe Walmart is focused on building trust with its customers by having their specially trained employees delivering for this program and wearing cameras. I can see customers building relationships with these deliveries over… Read more »
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Braintrust
"I am truly surprised that InHome is expanding as it seems rather invasive to me and difficult to grow and expand profitably."

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