Walmart wants to make it easier for your online orders and groceries to get to your home and into your fridge. The idea cuts the consumer out of the delivery, unpacking, and storing process entirely.
The company announced on September 22 that it’s partnering with August Home, which specializes in smart locks and smart home accessories, to make this possible.
“What if Walmart could help busy families like mine ensure my fridge was always well-stocked?” asked Sloan Eddleston, Walmart’s vice president of e-commerce strategy and business operations, in a blog post. “What if we created a service that not only did my grocery shopping and brought everything to my home, but even went so far as to put it directly into my fridge?
After an order is placed, the delivery driver(s) will pick up the items and bring them to your home. If no one answers the door, using a one-time passcode to unlock the August smart lock, the driver will drop off non-perishables in the foyer and place the rest of your groceries in the refrigerator. After leaving, the door locks automatically behind them.
Consumers will be able to track the entire delivery through notifications, or watch the entire delivery take place via August’s smart cameras and the August app.
The service is only available to a small number of August Home customers in Silicon Valley who volunteered to test it out, but Walmart hopes to expand the service’s reach in the future.
In the blog post, Eddleston states the new service developed out of “an obsession in saving our customers not just money but also time.” Taken another way, it could be seen as another step the company is taking to combat Amazon, which is currently seen to be the most convenient online retailer.
While it’s certainly an interesting evolution of home delivery, it may take some time for people to get used to the idea of strangers entering in their homes when they’re not there. It’s also unclear if this will work for those living in apartments, who may require the approval of the building’s management. If the service does prove to be successful and without risk, however, it could put Walmart one step closer to stepping out of Amazon’s rather large shadow.