BENTONVILLE, ARK. — Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is testing the next step in grocery delivery — a service that stocks a customer’s refrigerator while he or she is away from home. The retailer has partnered with August Home, a provider of smart locks and smart home accessories, and Deliv, a same-day delivery service, to try out the concept with a small group of shoppers in Silicon Valley.
How it works: A customer places an on-line order on Wal-Mart.com. When the order is ready, a Deliv driver retrieves the items from the store and, using smart lock technology, including a one-time passcode that has been preauthorized by the user, may enter the house and unload the groceries.
“As the homeowner, I’m in control of the experience the entire time — the moment the Deliv driver rings my doorbell, I receive a smartphone notification that the delivery is occurring, and, if I choose, I can watch the delivery take place in real-time,” explained Sloan Eddleston, vice-president of e-commerce strategy and business operations, in a corporate blog post. “The Deliv associate will drop off my packages in my foyer and then carry my groceries to the kitchen, unload them in my fridge and leave. I’m watching the entire process from start to finish from my home security cameras through the August app. As I watch the Deliv associate exit my front door, I even receive confirmation that my door has automatically been locked.”
Wal-Mart currently offers grocery pick-up service at hundreds of stores nationwide and recently began testing same-day delivery at a handful of stores. In August, the company announced a partnership with Google that allows shoppers to order hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart items through voice shopping on the Google Assistant digital platform.
The in-home delivery test is a “natural evolution” of Wal-Mart’s efforts to save customers money and time, Mr. Eddleston said.“What might seem novel today could be the standard tomorrow,” he wrote. “This may not be for everyone — and certainly not right away — but we want to offer customers the opportunity to participate in tests today and help us shape what commerce will look like in the future.”