From Store Brands, Jan. 12:
The latest home delivery innovation being piloted by Walmart is looking to make anytime delivery possible. The retailer’s HomeValet service, currently being tested by consumers in its hometown of Bentonville, Ark., allows Walmart to deliver orders directly to customers’ homes via temperature-controlled, HomeValet-powered smart boxes.
According to Walmart U.S. senior vice president of customer product Tom Ward, who unveiled the service with a blog post on the company’s website, the HomeValet smart box is powered by an Internet of Things platform and it can communicate with the delivery provider’s device to allow secure access to the box. It allows for three temperature zones for frozen, refrigerated and pantry products.
“The prospect of this technology is intriguing, both for customers and for Walmart’s last-mile delivery efforts,” Ward writes. “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.”
Walmart has been building out its grocery delivery capabilities since it launched the service in 2018, piloting several forward-looking capabilities, from on-demand drone delivery to driverless trucks that move delivery orders between stores, as well as partnerships with such third-party vendors as Instacart. Ward said that ultimately, flexibility for shoppers is informing the efforts.
“If there’s one thing we know about our customers, it’s that they’re busier than ever,” Ward writes. “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.”
Retailers are obviously looking at ways to make contactless delivery a strong option for the future as Albertsons also announced its testing of an automated contactless kiosk with temperature-controlled zones for online pickup orders.