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Retail Industry Updates

See How Walmart Plans to Take Grocery Delivery to Another Level

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HomeValet’s 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.

Walmart will soon begin testing temperature-controlled smart boxes for grocery delivery. The nation’s largest retailer is teaming with HomeValet, a smart box maker, on the project, which is expected to kick off in the spring in Bentonville, Ark., where Walmart is based.

“When we launched our grocery delivery service in 2018, we did it for one reason — our customers wanted it,” Walmart’s Tom Ward, senior vice president of customer product, wrote in a blog on the company’s website. “Since then, it’s been a lifesaver for busy families.”

But Ward realizes that 2018 was a long time ago in the grocery delivery business, where retailers — as in Walmart’s competitors — are trying to get a leg up on each other to secure more market share.

“As our founder, Sam Walton, once said, ‘To succeed, stay out in front of change,’” Ward said. “It’s why we’re continuously testing new technology, like drones and autonomous vehicles, to find new ways to serve customers. Which made us think: What if we could conveniently deliver fresh groceries to a customer’s front door any time of the day, whether they’re home or not?”

And that’s what Walmart will be exploring in its new pilot with Tysons Corner, Va-based HomeValet. Participating customers in Bentonville will be able to receive deliveries from their local Walmart directly into a temperature-controlled HomeValet-powered smart box placed outside their home, which will give them the ability to receive secure, contactless deliveries with the peace of mind knowing their grocery items will stay fresh, Ward said.

HomeValet’s 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. And when it’s time for a delivery to be made, the smart box communicates with the delivery provider’s device, giving them secure access to the smart box to complete the delivery, according to Ward.

“The prospect of this technology is intriguing, both for customers and for Walmart’s last-mile delivery efforts,” Ward added. “For customers, they don’t need to plan their day around when their grocery delivery will be made. For Walmart, it presents an opportunity to deliver items 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While we don’t have plans to do 24/7 delivery today, it certainly has a nice ring to it.”

HomeValet said Walmart customers will be the first to gain access to its boxes, as the product is just now going to market.

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