Walmart to Expand Its Home Delivery Service With 3,000 New Drivers

By Bryan Jung
Bryan Jung
Bryan Jung
Bryan S. Jung is a native and resident of New York City with a background in politics and the legal industry. He graduated from Binghamton University.
January 5, 2022Updated: January 5, 2022

Walmart, the largest retailer in the United States, said on Jan. 5, that it will hire more than 3,000 U.S. delivery drivers to support the expansion of its “InHome” system, part of its “Last-Mile” delivery service to 30 million households.

The InHome system allows deliverymen wearing a monitoring camera to enter a customer’s home to deliver groceries and other purchases or to pick up returns, even when the customer is not there.

The driver uses a one-time access code to unlock the customers’ doors or garages through an app that pairs with a “smart” entry lock.

Employees will be outfitted with protective coverings over their shoes and surfaces touched by the worker will be wiped down and sanitized before departure.

Each delivery can be viewed live or as a recording on a customer’s Walmart app.

“Now you’ve got this ultimate convenience where you get home, the refrigerator is restocked and other items like video games, clothing, toiletries and other nonperishables are on the countertop,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of last-mile delivery at Walmart, in an interview with CNBC.

“We will also pick up your return if you start that process on the app; we will grab the item the next day and will process that return for you.”

“They’ll also deliver Walmart packages, they’ll deliver Walmart GoLocal client packages, and they’ll do InHome delivery. It’s making the best of all these assets that we’re putting together in a way that’s really sustainable,” said Ward.

Walmart is expanding its fleet of all-electric Last-Mile delivery vans to support its new service, which will compete with already established rivals like Amazon.

The retailer is taking a page from Amazon’s playbook by building its own fleet of delivery vehicles, as increasing online demand puts pressure on UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service.

The InHome delivery service, which is currently employing about 100 drivers, will expand availability throughout the United States to 6–30 million households, including in cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, by the end of the year.

Walmart has been adapting to changes in customer shopping habits, especially since the pandemic, when many shoppers fearing illness found online grocery deliveries to be more convenient.

The pandemic has exploded competition in the industry between the food delivery services such as Amazon’s Whole Foods, Instacart, Doordash, and Uber.

Walmart’s InHome service will cost $19.95 per month with no additional fees, which is comparable to rivals like Amazon and DoorDash, which offer respective home delivery subscription plans.

Walmart had been experimenting with a home delivery service after watching other retailers do the same.

In 2017, Walmart established a program that had store employees bring online orders directly to customers’ homes after completing their store shifts.

The retail giant then launched the InHome delivery service as a pilot program in 2019, just in time for the major changes in retail that were to take place.

The program initially served Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Vero Beach, Florida; and has since expanded to northwest Arkansas, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C.

In August, Walmart launched its Last-Mile vehicle service ahead of the holiday shopping season after testing its new “last-mile” electric delivery vans.

“What we’ve learned in the years we’ve been testing our InHome proposition is that customers love the convenience of having the items that they’ve ordered put in their fridge, their freezer, or left on their countertop, or in the garage when they come home.”

“And they can just set and forget, and really do the things they want to spend their time doing,” Ward said.

Drivers and deliverymen will be paid about 9 percent more than Walmart’s average wage of $16.40 an hour.

Walmart’s 3,700 stores will be used as depot centers for the service.

The retailer hopes that the electric vehicles will help make the company’s goal of a zero-emissions logistics fleet by 2040.

Market analysts at Insider Intelligence estimate online grocery delivery market services as to reach $145 billion in sales by 2025.

“We think there is no one right answer in the last-mile equation,” Ward added.

“We want to experiment and then when we see those things that really resonate with our customers we want to scale out to as many people as we possibly can as fast as we can.”

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