Waitrose & Partners is to become the UK’s first supermarket to deliver groceries to customers inside the home and put them away while they are out. The While You’re Away in-home delivery service is being tested with 100 customers located within the delivery area of the Waitrose fulfilment centre in Coulsdon, south London.
This is one step up from Amazon Key which is live in the US. Amazon Key simply gives the delivery driver access to your home to pop your goods inside whilst the Waitrose will see delivery drivers put your chilled goods in your refrigerator and your frozen goods in your freezer.
Using Yale smart lock technology, the customer grants access to a Waitrose delivery driver by setting a temporary access code for the lock which is then sent to Waitrose via a secure app. The code is then sent to the driver’s device at the time the customer has booked for the in-home delivery and is deleted once the delivery is complete.
The whole delivery is captured on a chest-cam worn by the driver, with the video available for request for the customer the next working day.
If the While You’re Away trial is successful, Waitrose & Partners anticipates being able to make the in-home delivery service available to more than 1,000 customers in spring 2019.
There is little doubt that despite the development of so called convenient delivery options such as click and collect, safe places, deliver to neighbour and locker solutions that ultimately consumers would prefer to have their goods delivered to home. What might be harder for consumers to accept is giving strangers access to their homes via smart locks and trusting a delivery driver not to put their uncooked chicken above the left overs from yesterday’s roast beef in their refrigerator.
There is also the question of insurance – consumers are already seeing difficulties claiming for loss from keyless vehicles when a thief hijacked the signal from their key. It may not be your delivery driver who steals from your home, but what happens on the day they don’t fully shut your door and your house is subsequently burgled with no forced entry?
As trusted retailers such as Waitrose break the ground in the UK for in-home delivery services and consumers start installing and using smart locks, it may eventually become the norm that they routinely grant couriers access to their homes and failed deliveries become a think of the past.
“There is certainly an increasing demand among our customers to make shopping with us even more convenient to fit around their busy lifestyles. Rather than waiting for a delivery or trying to put everything away, it gives customers more flexibility to use that time differently, including more time enjoying cooking and eating the food they’ve bought. The concept of ‘in-home delivery’ has started to prove popular in other countries so we are keen to establish if there is an appetite for it in the UK.”
– Archie Mason, head of business development, Waitrose & Partners