Major supermarket to use smart tech to deliver groceries while customers are out

Key Points
  • The system requires a minimum order of £25 and will be tested on 100 customers initially. 
  • Yale smart-lock technology will be used to give delivery drivers access to homes. 
Edmund Sumner | Corbis Documentary | Getty Images

Waitrose is set to be the first supermarket in the U.K. to deliver and unpack shopping at customers' homes while they are away.

The system, which requires a minimum order of £25, will be tested on 100 customers living within the delivery area of the supermarket's fulfilment center in Coulsdon, south London, Waitrose said in a statement Friday.

Yale smart-lock technology will be used to give Waitrose delivery drivers access to a customer's home. The customer sets a temporary access code for their lock, which is sent to Waitrose through a secure app.

This code is in turn sent to a driver's device for the time slot the customer has booked their delivery for, and deleted when the delivery is complete. The driver will pack refrigerated and frozen goods and leave other items on the kitchen counter, or wherever the customer has instructed.

A chest-cam worn by the driver will record the delivery. A customer is able to view the video, upon request, the next working day.

Archie Mason, Waitrose & Partners' head of business development, said there was an increasing demand from customers to make shopping more convenient. "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 U.K.," Mason added.

If the trial is a success, Waitrose said it anticipated being able to make the service available for over 1,000 customers in the spring.

Yale U.K.'s Managing Director Nigel Fisher said that while the company's heritage and priority lay in security, "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."

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