By Tom Ward, SVP of Customer Product, Walmart U.S.
When we launched our grocery delivery service in 2018, we did it for one reason – our customers wanted it. Since then, it’s been a lifesaver for busy families. They can simply shop their local store from anywhere and schedule a time to have it delivered right to their front door. It’s incredibly convenient.
But as our founder, Sam Walton, once said, “To succeed, stay out in front of change.” It’s why we’re continuously testing new technology, like drones and autonomous vehicles, to find new ways to serve customers. Which made us think – what if we could conveniently deliver fresh groceries to a customer’s front door any time of the day, whether they’re home or not? That’s what we’ll be exploring in our new pilot with HomeValet.
Beginning this spring, participating customers in Bentonville, Arkansas, will be able to receive deliveries from their local Walmart directly into a temperature-controlled HomeValet-powered smart box placed outside their home. This gives customers the ability to receive secure, contactless deliveries with the peace of mind knowing their grocery items will stay fresh.
HomeValet’s smart box is powered by an internet of things (IoT) platform that has three temperature-controlled zones, so it can properly store frozen, refrigerated and pantry items. And when it’s time for a delivery to be made, the smart box communicates with the delivery provider’s device, giving them secure access to the smart box to complete the delivery.
The prospect of this technology is intriguing, both for customers and for Walmart’s last mile delivery efforts. For customers, they don’t need to plan their day around when their grocery delivery will be made. For Walmart, it presents an opportunity to deliver items 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While we don’t have plans to do 24/7 delivery today, it certainly has a nice ring to it.
If there’s one thing we know about our customers, it’s that they’re busier than ever. Our pilot with HomeValet is one of many solutions we’re testing that can make their days more manageable. After all, delivery should fit within their lifestyle, not the other way around.