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Walmart one-ups Amazon with deliveries direct to refrigerator

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Washington (AFP)

Walmart said Friday it was readying a new home delivery service where its employees could come inside and stock up customers' refrigerators.

The new "InHome" service expected to launch this year in several US cities aims to outdo retail rival Amazon, which brings goods inside customer homes though its electronic access program called Amazon Key.

Walmart said on its website that consumers who opt in for the service will need smart devices allowing remote access for the delivery team, which may enter when no one is home.

"You can be anywhere you want, but you don't have to be home," Walmart said on its promo page.

"We deliver fresh groceries from your local store, to your kitchen or garage. Literally. Directly into your fridge. Where they belong."

The new service will launch later this year in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Kansas City, Missouri; and Vero Beach, Florida; with more cities coming soon.

"Your groceries will be delivered by a trained and vetted Walmart associate, who has been with a local store for at least a year. So, you may actually see a familiar face," Walmart said.

The delivery personnel will be equipped with wearable cameras, so consumers can watch the process live, or view it later.

"You'll be able to see the whole process, from the opening of your door, to the stocking of your fridge and every step in between, until our associate leaves and locks up," the company said.

Amazon Key was introduced in 2017 as a secure and trackable way for packages to be delivered inside homes when people aren't there, using internet-connected locksets.

Amazon also allows deliveries to consumers' cars or garages.

The move by Walmart ramps up its competition between the two giants of electronic commerce.

Walmart said last month it would begin offering free next-day deliveries of online purchases without a subscription fee, aiming to counter Amazon's move to one-day deliveries to its Prime members.

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