There are apparently no limits in the grocery delivery wars.
Walmart (WMT) said on Friday it is testing a service with tech company August Home in which workers can bring deliveries all the way into your kitchen and even unload the items into your refrigerator and freezer in your absence.
The retailer, looking to get any new advantage it can in grocery delivery over Amazon.com (AMZN) now that its biggest rival has bought Whole Foods, is testing the idea in Silicon Valley only for now and restricting it to August Home customers who opt in. Customers will need an August Home smart lock that lets a delivery person from Deliv, the service Walmart’s sister chain Sam’s Club already works with, into the house. The system grants the driver a one time permission for entry and a customer can monitor the proceedings remotely via security camera after being alerted to the driver’s arrival via a text. Once the delivery is done, the homeowner gets a notification that the August lock has been closed.
While this is only a test for now, Walmart suggested it is likely to roll this out further if it takes with customers. The company also seemed to anticipate misgivings, or even feelings that the service is creepy and invasive, in the blog post, but made clear that Walmart’s first priority right now is to experiment and find services customers want.
“What might seem novel today could be the standard tomorrow. 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,” Sloan Eddleston, vice president of Walmart eCommerce Strategy & Business Operations said in a blog post.
The initiative is just the latest under Marc Lore, who became CEO of Walmart.com U.S. last year. In 2017, Walmart has also introduced a membership-free, two-day shipping program, a discount for customers who pick up an online order at a order rather than have it shopped, curbside grocery pickup at hundreds of stores and other novel services such as having a Walmart store worker drop off an online order on the way home after their shift.