Walmart's Amazon Key knock-off will have strangers stocking your fridge

Walmart said it can now deliver groceries to your refrigerator even if you're not home

Walmart already offers grocery pickup and delivery.

Walmart Inc will restart a service that offers the delivery of groceries directly to shoppers' refrigerators - part of its attempts to find unconventional ways to offer cheap and rapid delivery of online orders.

Walmart's InHome Delivery service is about to take Amazon Key a step further by restocking your fridge. Much like Amazon's version, InHome Delivery requires that users have Walmart install a smart lock on the outside of their home or garage. Walmart has also created 30,000 "personal shopper" jobs in stores who select groceries for customers' online pickup and delivery orders.

The cameras allow customers to control access into their homes and gives the me the ability to watch the deliveries remotely. So the service will be carried out by employees who have been with the company at least a year.

Starting this fall, the retail behemoth will offer that possibility to about a million households in Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Vero Beach, Florida through a service called Walmart InHome that executives believe can roll nationally in short order.

Employees who deliver the food could be paid a premium, but the approach shouldn't cost Walmart much more than existing fulfillment methods, United States e-commerce CEO Marc Lore said Thursday.

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"Now, we can serve customers not in just the last mile, but in the last 15 feet", wrote Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart's USA e-commerce division, in a corporate blog post.

Fees and other details of the new service, like what smart-home hardware would be required, weren't disclosed.

InHome is one of several e-commerce tech applications Walmart was showcasing on Thursday during its Shareholder Week festivities, which brings thousands of employees to the company's Bentonville, Ark., headquarters and surrounding area. Customers won't have to pay for a camera, but they will have to purchase a special door lock. The nation's largest grocer says it will be offering the service this fall in Kansas City and two other USA cities.

"We really saw the tables turn after one delivery during our pilot testing around how people would trust a service like that", he said. "We remain concerned that companies may end up overspending in their development of various delivery options by overestimating the potential demand, though that is a "down-the-road" issue".

"Getting in a strangers' auto didn't feel all that safe at first either, yet rideshare companies were able to get enough initial customers and then expand through customers' changing perceptions", said Goldberg.

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