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CNBC reports that Walmart announced this morning that its InHome delivery service - which "allows Walmart employees wearing cameras to enter a customer’s home to deliver groceries and other purchases or to pick up returns, even when the customer is not there" - is expanding its availability "from 6 million to 30 million households, including in cities such as in Los Angeles and Chicago, by the end of this year."

The story notes that "Walmart initially launched InHome in 2019 as a pilot in Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Vero Beach, Florida, and it’s since expanded in Northwest Arkansas, Atlanta, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. The company declined to say how many customers the service now has … Walmart’s InHome service costs $19.95 per month with no additional fees, and it’s part of a growing trend of 'delivery as a service'."

CNBC writes that "Walmart said it will hire 3,000 employees to support its InHome expansion, giving them real world and virtual reality training. They will be paid about 9% more than Walmart’s average wage of $16.40 an hour. Walmart’s 3,700 stores will be used as fulfillment centers and InHome delivery drivers will drive electric vehicles as part of the company’s goal of a zero emissions logistics fleet by 2040."

KC's View:

I tend to think of myself as an early adopter - after all, I was using Amazon in 1997 - but I'm not quite at the point where I'd allow any of these folks, no matter which company they are from, into the house and stocking my refrigerator.

But to me, that's not the real point of this story.  Rather, I think it is notable that Walmart is making an investment that allows it to have some control over this part of the customer experience.  That's the only way to do something like this, but it reflects a mindset that outsourcing this stuff puts the customer relationship at risk.

Walmart is being smart about this.  Not sure how sustainable the business model is, but taking ownership is critical.