Will customers let Walmart deliver in-fridge?
When we talk about the last mile of delivery, we generally think of getting product to a customer’s front door. But with a new smart home grocery delivery pilot, Walmart is getting down to the last few inches, delivering groceries directly into customers’ refrigerators.
Walmart has partnered with smart lock startup August Home to facilitate in-fridge deliveries in Silicon Valley test homes, according to reports. Delivery drivers are given a one-time passcode, which allows them to access the home (after the driver rings the doorbell once and receives no answer). The driver then unloads the groceries into the refrigerator and leaves. Customers can choose to watch the interaction via app through an IoT surveillance camera.
If integrated with other smart home solutions, Walmart’s in-fridge delivery could add a new layer to the auto-replenishment ecosystem. For instance, if a wired refrigerator were to be capable of communicating it was low on a particular product, it could place an automatic order and have food delivered directly to the refrigerator without any customer interaction required.
The pilot bears some resemblance to a logistics concept Amazon.com reportedly began piloting a few months ago. Amazon partnered with a smart lock company to give e-commerce customers the option to allow delivery people to let themselves into a home to drop off packages.
Walmart has made many big investments in innovation in a short period of time in what is presumably an attempt to go toe-to-toe with Amazon. The company acquired e-tailer Jet.com and popular indie brands like ModCloth, Bonobos and Moosejaw. It has also implemented virtual reality solutions for some aspects of employee training and has even rolled out a Silicon Valley tech incubator called Store No. 8. These modernizing moves have begun to paint quite a different image of Walmart from its reputation as a spartan, low-priced big box retailer.
Another recent delivery pilot by Walmart was distinctly less tech-forward. Earlier this year at one store in Arkansas and two in New Jersey, Walmart began piloting a program in which store associates dropped off online orders on their way home from work.
- Wal-Mart tests direct-to-fridge; Amazon ups restaurant game – Reuters
- Walmart wants to walk into your home and put groceries in your refrigerator – Business Insider
- Will customers give Amazon keys to their smart homes? – RetailWire
- Can Walmart workers deliver better last-mile results on their way home from work? – RetailWire
- Will Walmart’s innovation strategies pay off? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will in-fridge delivery catch on with consumers and will the processes in place effectively mitigate security concerns? Is this service a good addition for Walmart as it works to compete with Amazon and other omnichannel innovators?