Will Americans open their garages and homes to Amazon and Walmart?
Amazon.com and Walmart are both planning to expand delivery services that give them access to the homes of customers.
Expansion of the services was likely sidetracked in the last year over safety concerns related to the spread of COVID-19. With millions of Americans getting vaccinated and some of the stress around the threat relieved, the two companies are looking to get closer to their customers than ever before.
Amazon announced that it is expanding its Key by Amazon In-Garage Grocery Delivery service to more than 5,000 cities and towns across the country. The service, which was originally announced in 2019, will now be made available to millions of eligible Prime members who order groceries from Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods.
Amazon will deliver orders, as the program’s name suggests, inside of customers’ garages. Drivers receive temporary, one-time access to a garage after the Amazon app confirms the driver’s identity and delivery route via multi-step authentication. Drivers are instructed to go no more than five feet inside the garage. Customers receive delivery notifications on their mobile device.
“Customers who tried Key In-Garage Grocery Delivery have loved the service, which is why we’re expanding it to everywhere Amazon offers grocery delivery,” said Pete Gerstberger, head of Key by Amazon, in a statement. “As customers look for more convenience in their daily lives, we’re excited to deliver another service that not only helps them save time, but provides peace of mind knowing that tonight’s dinner is safe in their garage and out of the weather.”
Walmart debuted its InHome delivery service in 2019 in the Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Vero Beach markets. The retailer has expanded the service in recent months to its home state of Arkansas as well as southeast Florida. It is expected to launch in Atlanta in July, Bloomberg reports.
Customers enrolled in InHome meet with their delivery drivers before receiving their first orders. Delivery associates use smart entry technology to enter the homes of customers and their actions are tracked through wearable cameras. While Walmart typically uses third-party couriers to deliver groceries, only employees are eligible to participate in training to work in the InHome program.
- Amazon Expands In-Garage Grocery Delivery to Prime Members in More Than 5,000 Cities and Towns – Amazon.com
- Walmart Expands Delivery to Your Fridge, Pandemic Be Damned – Bloomberg
- Are garages optimal delivery drop-off points? – RetailWire
- Will customers give Walmart the keys to their homes? – RetailWire
- Walmart to deliver groceries to temp-controlled smart boxes at customers’ homes – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Americans’ experiences during the pandemic and a return to life approximating pre-pandemic normalcy create the conditions for programs such as Key by Amazon and Walmart InHome to be successful? What further obstacles and opportunities do you see for the programs?