Walmart tests delivering, putting groceries away in your fridge

Same-day grocery delivery? Telling Amazon’s Alexa to send something to your house? That’s so first half of 2017. What you didn’t know you needed is someone to shop for you and even put the food straight in your fridge.

That’s right, delivery with the option of having someone stock your refrigerator — including when you’re not home — could be on the way.

Walmart this week started testing such a service in partnership with a couple of tech startups: San Francisco-based smart-lock maker August Home and Menlo Park-based same-day delivery startup Deliv.

The testing is being done by a small group of August Home customers who “raised their hand” when they were invited to participate, Walmart spokesman Ravi Jariwala said Friday.

The volunteers obviously have to be comfortable letting strangers into their homes when they’re not home.

Customers shop on Walmart.com, which hands the orders over to Deliv delivery people. August Home’s system alerts customers when the delivery person arrives. The delivery person enters a one-time code on the smart lock so he or she can get into the house. The customers are given the option of watching the person — thanks to the magic of home surveillance cameras — delivering the goods and possibly putting them away in the fridge.

“We want to do more in the future by delivering groceries and other orders in whatever location works best for our customers – inside the house for some and in the fridge/freezer in the garage for others,” Sloan Eddleston, vice president for Walmart eCommerce Strategy & Business Operations, wrote in a blog post.

“It may not be for everyone,” but the test “puts us in position to be able to shape what experiences customers want in the future,” Jariwala said in a phone interview with SiliconBeat.

He added that Walmart is trying many different ways to make shopping more convenient for its customers. For example, it has pickup towers in some stores that allow customers to scan their smartphones to pick up their orders. And Jet.com, the online retailer Walmart bought last year, is testing a program with Latch in New York that allows for package delivery to customers’ buildings when they aren’t home.

 

Photo: Walmart is testing a service that includes having a delivery person put away your groceries. (Courtesy Walmart)

 

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