Waitrose & Partners to deliver ‘inside the home’

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Waitrose & Partners is set to become the UK’s first supermarket to deliver groceries to customers inside the home. And it will even put them away while the customers are out.

A trial of the ‘While You’re Away’ service will test demand with 100 customers located within the delivery area of its dotcom fulfilment centre in Coulsdon, south London.

“There is certainly an increasing demand among our customers to make shopping with us even more convenient to fit around their busy lifestyles,” Waitrose & Partners Head of Business Development Archie Mason said.

“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’re keen to establish if there is an appetite for it in the UK.”

The technology behind the service

Using Yale smart-lock technology, the customer will grant access to a Waitrose delivery driver. They do this by setting a temporary code for the lock, which a secure app then sends to Waitrose. The driver’s device then receives the time the customer has booked for the delivery. Once the driver has made the delivery, the device deletes the code.

The driver will put refrigerated and frozen goods away. They’ll also leave other groceries on the kitchen counter, or as instructed by the customer. The whole delivery is captured on a chest-cam that the driver wears. The customer can request the chest-cam video for the next working day.

Looking to the future

There is a minimum order of £25 ($46). Given the small number of customers involved at this stage, Waitrose & Partners says there is a minimum of six orders. However, the company will review this after the trial.

If successful, the retailer anticipates making the service available to more than 1,000 customers in spring 2019.