Walmart to test grocery deliveries to customer homes via a ‘smart’ cooler

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart is once again expanding competition with Amazon in grocery delivery.

The retail giant is piloting a partnership that will enable deliveries directly to a temperature-controlled “smart box” outside customer homes. Beginning this spring, participating customers in Walmart’s headquarters location of Bentonville, Ark., will be able to receive deliveries from their local Walmart store directly into a HomeValet-powered smart box placed outside their home. 

The smart box is powered by an internet of things (IoT) platform that has three temperature-controlled zones, so it can properly store frozen, refrigerated and pantry items. 

When it’s time for a delivery, the smart box communicates with the delivery provider’s device, giving them secure access to the smart box to complete the delivery. According to Walmart, this service will enable customers to receive grocery deliveries without having to be home while opening the possibility of 24/7 grocery deliveries in the future.

Walmart’s smart box pilot with Home Valet is the retailer’s latest effort to keep pace with Amazon’s gradually expanding Amazon Key “smart entry” delivery services that do not require the customer to be home to receive secure delivery inside their homes. In October 2019, Walmart began piloting InHome Delivery, a service that delivers fresh groceries and everyday items directly to refrigerators located inside customer kitchens or garages, with the aid of smart device. 

“If there’s one thing we know about our customers, it’s that they’re busier than ever,” said Tom Ward, senior VP of customer product, Walmart U.S., in a corporate blog post. 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 (the customer’s) lifestyle, not the other way around.”