Waitrose is trialling an ‘in-home’ delivery service that gives drivers access to customers’ homes to unpack groceries while they are out.
The supermarket believes it is the first in the UK to test demand for such a service – initially with 100 customers located near its fulfilment centre in Coulsdon, south London – after seeing it prove popular in the US and Scandinavia.
The service is called ‘While You’re Away’ and allows a customer with Yale ‘smart lock’ technology to set a temporary access code which is then sent to Waitrose via a secure app.
The code is then sent to the delivery driver’s device at the time of arrival at the customer’s home and is deleted once the delivery is complete.
The driver will put goods that need to be refrigerated and frozen away and leave other groceries on the kitchen counter, or as instructed by the customer.
The whole delivery is captured on a chest-camera worn by the driver, with the video available on request by the customer the next working day.
There is a minimum order of £25 and, initially at least, a minimum of six deliveries, although Waitrose said it would review this after the trial.
Waitrose said it anticipated being able to make the service available to more than 1,000 customers in spring next year depending on the success of the trial.
Archie Mason, head of business development at Waitrose & Partners, said: “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.
“The concept of in-home delivery has started to prove popular in other countries so we are keen to establish if there is an appetite for it in the UK.”
Nigel Fisher, managing director of Yale UK, said: “Working with Waitrose & Partners to develop the UK’s first in-home delivery service is an exciting premise for Yale as we look to understand how smart products can enhance daily lives as well as protecting your home.”
Customers can find out if they are eligible for the trial or can register their interest in future rollouts by visiting wya.waitrose.com.