Walmart Offers New Form of Grocery Delivery
Walmart is bringing some new sophistication to grocery delivery.
Beginning this spring, participating customers in Bentonville, Arkansas, will be able to receive deliveries from their local Walmart directly into a temperature-controlled HomeValet-powered smart box placed outside their home, according to Tom Ward, SVP of customer product, Walmart U.S.
This gives customers the ability to receive secure, contactless deliveries with the peace of mind knowing their grocery items will stay fresh.
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.
The prospect of this technology is intriguing, both for customers and for Walmart’s last mile delivery efforts, said Ward. 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,” Ward said.
The move comes amid other efforts to make grocery delivery and pickup more convenient for consumers and retailers.
Earlier in January, for instance, Albertsons Cos. became the first American grocer to pilot an automated and contactless grocery pickup kiosk from Estonian provider Cleveron. The temperature-controlled kiosk, located at one of Albertsons’ Jewel-Osco stores in Chicago, demonstrates the ongoing expansion of the company’s e-commerce business to provide convenient options for shoppers.
Customers who select the “Kiosk PickUp” option will be offered two-hour time slots during which they can pick up their groceries. When customers arrive at the kiosk, they scan a code on their phone and their groceries are robotically delivered to the front of the unit for pickup. The unit features two temperature zones: regular and deep freeze. A customer’s items can be stored in the two separate zones and still be delivered in the same console for pickup.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 56 banners in 27 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam's Club ranks No. 9 on the list.
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons operates 2,252 retail stores with 1,725 pharmacies, 398 associated fuel centers, 22 dedicated distribution centers and 20 manufacturing facilities. The company’s stores predominantly operate under the banners Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Haggen. The company is No. 8 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.