Waitrose delivers into the home while customers are out

UK grocer Waitrose – or Waitrose & Partners, as it is now known after the company’s recent rebrand – is starting trials of a new service that allows online delivery staff inside a customer’s home while they are out, so they can pack orders away.

The initiative is called ‘While You’re Away’, and it will be tested with 100 customers located within the delivery area of its fulfilment centre in Coulsdon, south London.

Using Yale smart lock technology, the customer can grant access to a Waitrose delivery driver by setting a temporary access code for the lock which is then sent to Waitrose via an app.

The code is then sent to the driver’s device at the time the customer has booked for the delivery and is deleted once the delivery has been completed.

Waitrose said the driver will put refrigerated and frozen goods away and leave other groceries on the kitchen counter, or in the manner they have been instructed by the customer. The whole delivery is captured on a chest-cam worn by the driver, and the video is available at the request of the customer the next working day.

Users of the service must order a minimum of £25 worth of items, and in the early trials they have to place a minimum number of six orders, although this format will be reviewed after the trial.  

Waitrose anticipates being able to make the service available to more than 1,000 customers in spring 2019, if early experiments are successful. Customers can see if they are eligible for the trial or they can sign up for the service at the While You’re Away section of the grocer’s website.

Archie Mason, head of business development from Waitrose, commented: “There is certainly an increasing demand among our customers to make shopping with us even more convenient to fit around their busy lifestyles.

“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.”

Nigel Fisher, managing director for Yale UK, said his company’s work with Waitrose is an example of how traditional businesses are modernising and exploring initiatives related to smart home technologies.

“Our heritage and priority is in security, but the technologies we’re now working with means we can also collaborate with companies, like Waitrose, to also develop services that fit with modern life,” he explained.

Waitrose announced in September that customers can have their food and drink delivered straight to their door within two hours or on the same day for the first time as part of a new trial called ‘Waitrose Rapid Delivery’.  The service is available for shoppers in certain parts of London.

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