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Walmart wants to deliver you IN your home

It should be always easier for people to order online, and in particular the delivery should be a smooth experience. Market researches show that delivery is actually a real pain point and the source of many complaints (delivery times longer than expected, nobody at home to take delivery of the parcel, …)

In a attempt to do a thorough market research back in 2014-2015, we reported the huge progresses made by the logistics sector and the interesting innovations introduced in the market (automation, integration, pick-up points, 24/7 lockers) to improve customer experience. Yet, one pain point remained. Although the supply chain had undergone massive transformation over the years, no solution had been found to go beyond the customer’s door. In other words, whatever the market did to speed up the delivery process, if the customer was not at home the customer experience wasn’t good.

Walmart has explained it wanted to fix that problem by delivering IN the customer’s home. Not “at” but well “in” the home. For fresh products it therefore means to put them directly in the fridge which implies to open the customer’s home in his or her absence.

This idea is actually not new. A few years ago we spotted an innovation announced by DHL in partnership with Audi which aimed at delivering goods ordered online in the customer’s car trunk. The idea behind Walmart’s announcement is very similar and is based on the same set of of technologies like one-time password to open the lock (of the trunk or of the house).

In terms of privacy however the two settings differ sharply. While the car is a private property, accessing the trunk is a low-risk move into one’s private sphere. Nothing -really- wrong can happen. However accessing one’s house in his or her absence is a totally different story. This is a very high-risk move into the private sphere; not because of theft but because home represents the most sacred private place whre each object, color, odor is a part of you. Have you ever feeled embarassed when someone unexpectidly walks into your home ? You probably immediately thought about the image you gave of yourself to your unexpected visitor. This is exactly what will happen with Walmart’s innovation.


Whereas Walmart’s announcement is aligned with customers’ expectations in terms of delivery experience (smooth and fast), it does’t take psychological aspects (private sphere, feelings of shame) that may arise when a stranger walks into your home.
For that reason mainly we can hypothetize that customers will probably be reluctant to adopt Walmart’s delivery process.

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Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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