First There Was Doorstep Delivery, Now There Is “In-Home” Delivery

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4Q 2017 | IN-4768

Many retailers including Amazon, Walmart, and Zappos are known for quick and affordable shipping direct to your home or office. Walmart wants to take this one step further and deliver goods inside your home. This week, Walmart announced a partnership with smart lock company August to provide secure and convenient delivery of goods inside the home and even stocking goods in the home cupboard or fridge. It will initially be launched as a trial in the Silicon Valley market with opt-in customers. Last-mile delivery of these shipments will be handled by a third-party service, Deliv.

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Walmart and August Partner for In-Home Delivery

NEWS


Many retailers including Amazon, Walmart, and Zappos are known for quick and affordable shipping direct to your home or office. Walmart wants to take this one step further and deliver goods inside your home. This week, Walmart announced a partnership with smart lock company August to provide secure and convenient delivery of goods inside the home and even stocking goods in the home cupboard or fridge. It will initially be launched as a trial in the Silicon Valley market with opt-in customers. Last-mile delivery of these shipments will be handled by a third-party service, Deliv.

Another Step in the Walmart/Amazon Delivery Battle

IMPACT


Key to the trial is the ability for Deliv couriers to gain access to the delivery address via the installation of an August smart lock, doorbell, and cameras. The August devices will recognize a one-time passcode to enable delivery access to the home with notifications also being sent to the customer throughout the process.

This is the first test of its kind that Walmart is conducting, but in July, its online subsidiary, Jet.com announced a pilot where more than 100,000 residents living in 1,000 buildings in New York City would get free and full access to Latch’s residential “R” system for the exterior door of their building. The installation of the Latch system would be paid for by a “joint investment” from Jet and Latch. However, the partnership is a marketing partnership, not a technology integration, aimed at providing Jet.com with information on customers in Latch-equipped buildings.

Walmart’s Sam’s Club launched a delivery service using Deliv last year. For its part, August has built out its device offerings from a single door lock to include a variety of door locks, webcams, and a smart doorbell. 

This Test May “Open Doors” to Many Opportunities

COMMENTARY


Monitored security players that have helped pioneer popular smart home services such as ADT and Vivint in the United States have long touted the addition of smart home services to enable secure deliveries when the resident is away from the home. But for those with the comfort level to trust opening their home remotely to deliveries, it has been a feature that had to be managed in real time by the resident. The Walmart trial will test how appealing handing over control to a third-party everything may be.

What is clear here is the further integration of smart home systems into the wider consumer ecosystem. Amazon’s investment and success with its Echo voice control front-end devices may have been the most obvious example of a retailer Trojan horse in the home, smoothing and controlling purchases from that location. We have already written about recent announcements where Amazon acquired Whole Foods stores and Walmart partnered with Google to use Google Express and Google Home services. Testing smart home control and delivery is a further integration in that process and one that increasingly depends upon smart home adoption.

Alongside its push into grocery stores, Amazon has been continuing its efforts to provide quick and affordable shipping as well.  Most of the company’s larger orders come with free shipping, free two-day shipping for Prime members, and now it will offer free same-day shipping on many items, as well as Prime Now groceries within a few hours. But if homeowners are not available when the shipment arrives, perishable goods can spoil or be stolen.

If the Walmart pilot is successful, it could pave the way for many additional purchases for those busy, on-the-go customers who can’t always be home to receive deliveries. It could also remove restrictions for delivery personnel who need to meet certain delivery time windows. Early, late, or weekend deliveries can be securely processed with or without the homeowners being present. Services such as home cleaning, electronics installation and repair, vehicle servicing and repair, or landscape services all become easier to schedule and manage.

ABI Research believes there is a need for such convenience for many consumers who are busy and not always available to receive goods at home. It is a further illustration of how smart home capabilities will increasingly reach into and affect more and more consumer industries. As such, it will be the smart home managed platform providers that can offer up the most affluent, or largest, customer base that will best be able to partner with service providers and, more importantly, monetize their smart home control platforms.

This test is another method that Walmart is employing to try to compete with Amazon. Amazon, among others, may be talking about or be set to test a similar approach, but so far, it is Walmart’s partnership with August that has stolen the lead.

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