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Walmart launches in-home delivery service in 3 US cities

Walmart Inc. on Oct. 15 launched InHome grocery delivery service to deliver fresh groceries and everyday essentials directly into a customer's kitchen or garage refrigerator.

The retailer launched the service in three U.S. cities — Kansas City, Kan.-Mo.; Vero Beach, Fla.; and Pittsburgh.

The subscription service, free for the first month, will cost $19.95 per month and require a minimum order of $30 per order. The smart lock needed for the service will cost $49.95, Walmart said.

According to the release, over 1 million customers are eligible for the service. Consumers can visit InHome.Walmart.com to check for eligibility. Those eligible must equip their kitchen or garage doors with a smart lock that Walmart employees can open to leave deliveries.

The service affords Walmart "some real cost efficiencies for us from a delivery perspective because we have more flexibility on when we deliver," Steve Bratspies, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer of Walmart U.S., told analysts at a conference Sept. 5.

"So I don't have to schedule an appointment with you to be at your house at a certain time. That allows a lot of labor scheduling and smoothing over time. So we're pretty excited about all the different paths we have to serve customers."

Walmart said it plans to expand the service to more cities but did not give a timeline.

Walmart on June 7 announced plans to launch the InHome Delivery service in the fall of 2019 to close the gap on Amazon.com Inc., months after it scrapped a similar program over poor demand and problems with store operations.