Walmart testing store-to-fridge grocery delivery service

By Eric DuVall  |  Sept. 23, 2017 at 2:00 PM
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Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Walmart is testing a pilot program where perishable groceries are delivered straight to a customer's refrigerator, the latest idea aimed at making online grocery shopping more practical and convenient.

Walmart has partnered with the delivery service Deliv and August Home to create a system for a select number of customers in the Silicon Valley region of California. Those customers had a home security system installed by August Home that creates a one-time digital passcode for a Walmart delivery person to enter, which unlocks the door when they aren't home. From there, nonperishable packages are left out and items in need of refrigeration are put away.

In order to make customers more at ease with a stranger being in their home, the security system sends notifications when a person has entered, when they leave and offers a live stream of what they're doing via security cameras.

Walmart acknowledged the system would not appeal to all consumers, but said some people might find the service useful.

"What might seem novel today could be the standard tomorrow," Sloan Eddleston, Wal-Mart's vice president of e-commerce strategy and business operations, said in a blog post. "This may not be for everyone -- and certainly not right away -- but we want to offer customers the opportunity to participate in tests today and help us shape what commerce will look like in the future."

Walmart did not say how many people are participating in the pilot program. It has also not announced how much it is charging for the service.

Neil Stern of the retail consulting firm McMillon Doolittle told the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette that Walmart's in-home delivery system solves one perpetual problem in online grocery shopping, but said it could create another.

"One of the perpetual issues of e-commerce for grocery is scheduling deliveries and dealing with highly perishable products," Stern said. "This is one workaround, but obviously requires a huge leap of faith from a safety and security standpoint."

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