Walmart and smart-lock manufacturer August are testing a new service that will allow customers to authorize delivery drivers to leave packages inside their homes while they're away, according to TechCrunch.
This is an early trial, with both Walmart and August looking to figure out how best to approach in-home delivery. Walmart hasn’t announced what pricing would be like for this type of service, and will use findings from this trial to work out what sort of premium it might charge over typical delivery fees. It also will work out what consumers are and aren’t comfortable with.
The test is going to include regular packages along with fresh grocery delivery, meaning that Walmart will offer to have its delivery driver enter the person’s home and put any cold food in the refrigerator or freezer. How customers react to this will inform Walmart how far into the home people want their deliveries to go.
Walmart’s test is only possible because of the flexibility offered by August’s locks.They allow homeowners to use the lock’s management app to give permission to other people — or companies, in this case — to enter the home using their own phone. Walmart is taking advantage of this by using the locks for home delivery, and other companies could surely follow suit, so long as consumers react well to the service.
This could also galvanize smart-lock adoption. Up until now, smart locks have offered some advantages over traditional locks — homeowners don’t need to carry keys necessarily, and can designate friends or family members they want to allow into the home — but those are all marginal benefits that could have relatively simple solutions. What Walmart is doing opens up an entirely new possibility for deliveries that’s only available to smart-lock owners. If someone wanted grocery delivery, for instance, owning a smart lock could mean that they don’t need to restrict delivery times to periods when they’ll be home at or soon after the delivery time, because food will be put away rather than left to spoil. Sixteen percent of consumers don’t order groceries online because they aren't home to accept shipments, but should they upgrade to a smart lock that barrier will no longer be an issue.
The US smart home market has still yet to meet the expectations many observers had in the early part of this decade.
The same issues BI Intelligence first identified back in 2015 still plague the space — persistently high prices, technological fragmentation, and consumers' lack of a perceived benefit from the devices.
But the newfound popularity of smart home voice control has revolutionized smart home ecosystems across the country, and convinces more consumers to equip their homes with smart devices on a daily basis. The Amazon Echo, released in 2014, has become immensely popular and capable, awakening users to the utility of both voice control and smart home devices. This has prompted companies to rush to release competing devices and integrate voice control into their smart home ecosystems.
- Analyzes current consumer demand for smart home devices based off results from BI Intelligence's proprietary survey.
- Forecasts future growth in the number of smart home devices installed in American homes.
- Analyzes the factors influencing the proliferation of voice control devices in the homes.
- Identifies and analyzes the market strategies of various companies that have integrated voice control into their smart home ecosystems.
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