LONDON (Reuters) - Waitrose & Partners is to become the first supermarket in Britain to deliver groceries to customers inside the home and put them away while they are out.
The upmarket grocer, part of the employee-owned John Lewis Partnership 'said on Friday it will test demand for the "While You’re Away" service with 100 customers located within the delivery area of its distribution centre in Coulsdon, south London.
Online is Britain's fastest growing grocery channel. It is expected to grow by 52 percent over the next five years to 17.3 billion pounds ($22.53 billion), according to industry researcher IGD.
"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," said Archie Mason, head of business development at Waitrose.
Waitrose's new service will utilise lock technology from Yale <ASSAb.ST>.
The customer grants access to their property 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 Waitrose 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.
The minimum order for the trial is 25 pounds ($32.6).
Waitrose said that if the initial trial is successful it expects to extend it to more than 1,000 customers in spring 2019.
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young)