It may sound absurd — it may even be absurd — but this concept is being tested by Walmart with select customers in California’s Silicon Valley.
Partnering with smart home specialist August and delivery firm Deliv, the proposed service works like this: You place your order online, specify a delivery time, and then go about your day. The delivery person arrives at your home and if no one’s in, enters a one-time passcode into the front door’s smart lock. They then locate your kitchen and stock up your refrigerator with all the goodies you ordered.
When the passcode is activated, a notification is sent to your smartphone. You then have the option to watch the delivery person inside your house via a live-stream from your home security cameras. You may want to do this because you’re not particularly comfortable with the idea of having a stranger in your home when you’re not there, or perhaps because you want to get your money’s worth from the pricey camera gear you installed but never use.
When the delivery person exits the house, you receive another notification confirming that the door was securely locked. If you don’t, you will need to get over there pretty quickly to secure your premises.
Walmart believes the service could be attractive for people who are short on time.
“Imagine planning a last-minute get-together and having everything you need to entertain already waiting for you inside your fridge,” Walmart’s Sloan Eddleston wrote in a blog post about the service. “Or maybe you think during lunch at work that you’d like to surprise your spouse by making dinner, but don’t have time to run to the store. In the future, you could order on Walmart.com and start cooking minutes after you walk through the door.”
While the idea may appeal to those who harbor a strong dislike not only for grocery shopping but also for dealing with deliveries and perhaps even placing items into refrigerators, others are unlikely to go for Walmart’s offbeat scheme, unhappy with the idea of a stranger entering their home when they are not around.
Eddleston is at least realistic enough to acknowledge that the idea “may not be for everyone,” but adds that “what might seem novel today could be the standard tomorrow.”