Walmart is to pilot a temperature-controlled smart box from startup HomeValet to support the home delivery of perishable foods. The smart box with three temperature zones is placed outside the home allowing groceries to be delivered, contact-free, to the secure box while keeping relevant items refrigerated. The smart boxes will be tested initially with customers near Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, starting this spring.
HomeValet is one of several solutions that Walmart is testing to make grocery delivery more efficient. The InHome service, requiring smart door locks, continues to operate in several cities although has been adapted to comply with local restrictions during the pandemic. Likewise, it continues to advance its autonomous vehicle ambitions through a driverless pilot with Gatik. Competitors are also making progress in-home delivery initiatives, with Amazon recently expanding its Key in-Garage delivery service to Prime members.
This latest pilot from Walmart shows the desire from retailers to find safe and convenient home delivery solutions that are cost-efficient. With unlimited deliveries now part of its recently launched Walmart+ subscription program, developments of this type could become an effective membership benefit, as Amazon offers with its Key service. Continued progress in these areas, as barriers to adoption are removed, will ensure the need for an ever-greater digital presence for brands.
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