The grocer will initially test demand for the new service, which is called ‘While You’re Away’, with 100 customers located within the delivery area of its dotcom fulfilment centre at Coulsdon in south London.
Using Yale smart lock technology, the customer grants access to a Waitrose delivery driver by setting a temporary access code for the lock which is then sent to Waitrose via a secure 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 is complete.
The driver will put refrigerated and frozen goods away and leave other groceries on the kitchen counter, or as instructed by the customer. The whole delivery is captured on a chest-cam worn by the driver, with the video available for request for the customer the next working day.
There is a minimum order of £25 and given the small number of customers involved at this stage, there is a minimum number of six orders. But this figure will be reviewed after the trial.
If the trial is successful, Waitrose & Partners anticipates being able to make the service available to more than 1,000 customers in spring 2019. Customers can find out if they are eligible for the trial or can register their interest in using the service by visiting www.wya.waitrose.com.
The retailer’s head of business development Archie Mason 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’re keen to establish if there is an appetite for it in the UK.”
Waitrose also announced last month 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’. Customers in selected London postcodes are now able to choose up to 20 items from more than 1,500 products at rapid.waitrose.com.
Waitrose & Partners operates 348 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 61 convenience branches, and another 27 shops at Welcome Break locations.