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Walmart ramps up its delivery services by offering this time a new subscription-based service which offers unlimited grocery deliveries.

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Walmart has announced the launch of its ‘InHome Delivery’ service next Autumn.

Available to nearly 1 million people in three cities

The new service will be available to almost 1 million people in three cities: Kansas City, Missouri; Pittsburgh and Vero Beach, Florida. Start date of the service and cost to customers haven’t been disclosed.

Source: Walmart

How does it work?

After placing an order online, customers can simply select ‘InHome Delivery’ option at checkout. An InHome employee then collects the order and access the home to deliver groceries using the smart lock technology. In addition, each employee has a wearable camera that allow customers to track their progress within their homes. Later this year, InHome Delivery employees will be able also to collect returns on behalf of customers.

According to Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart e-commerce, each InHome Delivery employee will go through an “extensive” training on how to properly enter shoppers’ home and store their goods. According to the Wall Street Journal, they will also be required to have been with the company for at least a year.

What’s the competition doing?

Several Walmart’s competitors have recently implemented similar delivery solutions. Essentially, Waitrose has recently expanded its “While You’re Away” pilot which allows its employees to deliver groceries at shoppers’ home while they’re away. Along with Waitrose, Amazon, Edeka, Albert Heijn, Jet.com and ICA have all trialled delivery this way in their respective markets.

Please check our Walmart hub and Customer Centric hub for more related news.

Walmart joins MediLedger, a consortium that aims to build a blockchain for tracking pharmaceutical supply chains.

Beyond IBM Food Trust

The new inititiative is not Walmart’s first push into blockchain. The US retailer has already been working with IBM Food Trust to create a platform which helps bring food traceability. Similarly, MediLedger is aiming to create an “open and decentralised network for the pharmaceutical supply chain”. The consortium already includes major pharma companies such as Pfizer, McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen and Premier Inc, which are all in the process of testing the new platform.

Walmart’s involvement in the consortium shows its commitment to be involved in technology. It has already filed 50 blockchain patents related to tracking shipments and operating drones, amongst other aspects.

Pilot to begin in June

Mediledger is due to kick-start the pilot in June, alongside the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and will aim to reach their 2023 target (to deliver an interoperable, digitized system for tracking and verifying prescription drugs). The fact that a significant retailer such as Walmart has joined the consortium will help MediLedger drive this initiative and bring blockchain technology to the pharmaceutical supply chain.

“The pilots only really make sense if you are working with a group of collaborators”, said Eric Garvin, co-lead of MediLedger.

Several retailers are already involved in blockchain technology. Please visit our Transformed by technology hub for more details.

Walmart has announced the appointment of Suresh Kumar as its new elevated Chief Technical Officer and Chief Development Officer.

25 years of technology experience

Mr Kumar brings more than 25 years of technology experience, having previously worked with Google, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM. His 15 years with Amazon will be particularly attractive to Walmart, having most recently held the position of VP, Worldwide Retail Systems and Retail Services. Prior to this, he looked after Amazon’s retail supply chain and inventory management systems. He joins Walmart while its customer and associate experiences are being rapidly overhauled.

Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart, said: “The technology of today and tomorrow enables us to serve our customers and associates in ways that weren’t previously possible. We want to take full advantage of those opportunities. Suresh has a unique understanding of the intersection of technology and retail, including supply chain, and has deep experience in advertising, cloud and machine learning. And, he has a track record of working in partnership with business teams to drive results.”

Walmart said that it aims, under Kumar, to bring together its four technology organisations: Global Business Services, Walmart Labs, Sam’s Club Technology and International technology.

The hire comes at a point of time when Walmart is competing with Amazon across several fronts, such as e-commerce, omnichannel, logistics and brick-and-mortar operations.

Mr Kumar said: “Walmart is one of the great success stories in how a company evolves over time to serve the changing needs of its customers, and today, it is in the midst of a very exciting digital transformation. With more than 11,000 stores, a high-growth eCommerce business and more than two million associates worldwide, the potential for technology to help people at scale is unparalleled, and I am excited to be part of this.”

Kumar holds a Ph.D. in Engineering from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

Check out our Walmart hub for more related news.

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