retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC reports that Walmart is launching a new in-home delivery service in three markets - Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Vero Beach, Fla. - with which it will not just bring products to a person's home, but also put them away in their kitchens.

According to the story, "InHome grocery delivery is a membership program that is being rolled out at an introductory price of $19.95 a month. It requires shoppers to purchase a $49.95 smart door lock kit or smart garage door kit, which comes with free installation and one month of free unlimited grocery delivery."

More context from CNBC: "Once eligible, consumers will choose kitchen or garage fridge delivery and then corresponding smart lock device and installation; Once the lock is installed, next-day grocery delivery service can begin … For now, items available for the InHome delivery program are only those that are currently available in the Walmart grocery app, which is between 30,000 and 35,000 items which will vary by the store that fulfills the order. While it is largely grocery items, there are some general merchandise items available like health and beauty, batteries, over the counter mediation and first aid."

The story says that "to deliver groceries, Walmart is requiring employees to have at least a year of service with the company, background checks, motor vehicle record checks and extensive training that includes how to best rearrange groceries in a packed fridge. Customers will need to restrain household pets during the delivery window as well."

Bart Stein, Walmart senior vice president of membership and InHome, tells CNBC that this service is one that the company plans "to grow and scale aggressively." The three initial markets have been identified as those that he says "represent (a) variety of factors across demographics, stores and more operationally that set us up the best and quickest to scale nationwide.”

And he says, "We are cooking up other cool stuff, but we can’t talk about today."
KC's View:
I'm sorry. I don't even like it when Mrs. Content Guy rearranges groceries in our refrigerator. I really, really don't want a Walmart employee doing it.

At a time when so many of us are concerned about online privacy, I'm just not yet persuaded that this is a service that a plethora of consumers are looking for. But maybe I'm just being cranky.

It is interesting to see how Walmart seems to be rearranging pieces on its competitive game board. Selling ModCloth. Considering spinning off or taking a partner for Jetblack. Dealing with apparent internal carping about the relationship between its store and online operations. Building up its click-and-collect operations.

We don't know - yet - what the other "cool stuff" is. But one thing seems certain. There has to be more cool stuff, because there is no such thing as standing pat.