Walmart announced Tuesday (Jan. 12) a new pilot with HomeValet for grocery customers in Bentonville. This spring the pilot will go live and consumers can log on and reserve their place in line to take part in the test.
Tom Ward, senior vice president of customer product for Walmart U.S., said the test is another example of how the retail giant is “staying out in front of change,” a mantra by founder Sam Walton.
“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.”
The smart box offered by HomeValet is powered by an internet of things platform and it has three temperature-controlled compartments so it can store frozen, refrigerated and pantry items. The box resembles those that typically house water hoses and sit on the front or back porches.
When it’s time for a delivery to be made, the smart box communicates with the delivery provider’s device via an app giving them secure access to the smart box to complete the delivery. The customer can view the delivery being made on their smartphone via the mobile app.
HomeValet, nor Walmart, provided details about the cost of the box. Consumers in Bentonville can sign up on the waitlist via the HomeValet website. The company said the smart box units are in the manufacturing phase and will be available in the spring.
“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,” Ward said.