home valet, a DC metro area-based startup that has developed a temperature-controlled smart Box for grocery delivery, is now releasing its smart home product to the public and expanding its partnership with Walmart. The company previously operated its Smart Box with Walmart in 2021 to help grocery delivery customers keep their fresh and frozen items cold, as well as ensure that they are available until they retrieve them. Till then, their delivery should be safe.
The company says that the Smart Box will now be offered to Walmart’s inhome grocery delivery subscribers in select markets starting this month. It will also be offered to general consumers who can pre order Box with a $50 down payment. The full product costs $499 for InHome customers—so it’s a bit of an investment. (Financing is available through Affirm.)
However, this box can be useful for those who want the convenience of placing grocery orders online but cannot be at home when those items are delivered.
This is one of the major barriers to adoption of grocery delivery among consumers. Because fresh and frozen items need to be put away immediately after delivery, many people choose to order groceries via curbside pickup or shop in-store as usual. The issue also complicates the logistics of grocery delivery, as shoppers want their groceries delivered at certain times of day when they can be at home – such as after work or on weekends. This leads to an ebb and flow of delivery requests throughout the days and weeks, rather than allowing the retailer to determine the best time to place and deliver certain orders.
Walmart’s solution to this problem so far has been its inhome delivery service. This grocery subscription service, which the retailer said last week, will be available in 30 million homes by the end of the year, allowing Walmart employees to enter the home via a smart lock system and fridge groceries on behalf of the customer. And allows to keep in the freezer. These deliveries are recorded through vest-wearing cameras for security purposes.
But not all customers will be comfortable with strangers entering their homes. (Or they might not allow it for some other reason – like having a big dog who doesn’t like visitors, perhaps!)
This is where the HomeValet Smart Box system can come in. Instead of having Walmart delivery staff enter their home, the delivery driver will be able to access the smart box and place groceries inside.
The HomeValet system itself is an Internet-connected box with sections for both fresh and frozen items in the pantry and other non-grocery items, along with a temperature-controlled cooler side. (Sections are also configurable by the end user.)
The smart box also ships with a companion mobile app that alerts you to delivery and records video of the courier placing your order inside the box via its included Sony IMX322 camera, which records in 1080p. Is.
From the app, customers can lock and unlock the box as needed, and adjust the temperature remotely. The box may also automatically unlock before delivery arrives when integrated with systems from a supported retailer such as Walmart’s InHome. (The app requires a paid subscription).
The Smart Box is powered by a standard 110-volt outlet and can be grounded if desired. The box is a sizable 120 pounds and sports dimensions of 50.86″ x 25.37″ x 26.56″. (Earlier versions had UV light for sanitization but the current system specs do not mention this feature.)
HomeValet rolled out its Smart Box system with Walmart customers in Northwest Arkansas in May 2021 and ran additional tests in Indiana, parts of Minnesota, and the DC metro area. The company is now making this system available to in-home shoppers first.
Walmart InHome customers served by stores in Florida — a smart place to start, given the climate — will receive the first shipment of the box in February 2022. InHome customers can purchase the box at a launch price of $499 and a launch price of $10/mo. Subscription service, which includes 6 months free.
The box will then be shipped to other pre-order customers in limited quantities in August 2022, followed by expanded shipments in November 2022. These customers will pay a different MSRP for the issuance at a later date.