Waitrose’s While You’re Away service allows delivery drivers to enter customer’s homes to unpack their shopping
The vast majority of UK adults are uncomfortable with the idea of delivery drivers entering their homes to drop off shopping while they’re out, new research has revealed.
Waitrose first trialled its While You’re Away delivery service in October 2018, which saw its shopping delivery drivers enter customers’ houses and put away their shopping in fridges and cupboards, thanks to a temporary access code linked to a home’s Yale smart lock.
The supermarket has insisted there is something “very beautiful” about its customers forgetting they even made an order and then coming home to see their goods already in cupboards.
The smart lock allows Waitrose delivery drivers access to customer homes
But a survey of 1,628 adults by YouGov on behalf of i found 88 per cent of people were actually “totally uncomfortable” with allowing a delivery driver to enter their home to drop off a delivery while they were not present, compared with 11 per cent who described themselves as totally comfortable.
Despite this, supermarket bosses claim for some people involved in the While You’re Away trial the services has replaced their “normal shopping behaviour” – although exact figures were not provided to i.
“A significant proportion of While You’re Away participants use the service regularly, and in some cases it’s replaced their normal shopping behaviour. There is a high degree of interest out there – around 10 per cent of visitors to our website have expressed interest in it,” Ben Cronin, product manager for the Waitrose service, said.
Drivers are required to wear foot covers to ensure they don’t traipse mud into the home and have been informed to follow food hygiene guidelines when putting produce away, after the trial was extended from 50 participants to a further 100 participants in south and west London in July.
The delivery is recorded on body cams
The delivery is also captured on a chest-cam worn by the driver, with the video available on request by the customer during the next working day via the Waitrose app.
“We actually found most customers watch the first video, but very few watch footage from subsequent deliveries,” Mr Cronin said. “Our customers put a high degree of trust in us, and there’s something very beautiful about getting home and maybe even forgetting that your delivery was due and seeing this lovely array of products on your kitchen table or away in your fridge and freezer.”
Amazon has been delivering packages to US customers’ homes since 2017 and cars since 2018 through its Amazon Key and Key In-Car services, allowing delivery drivers to drop off packages in shoppers’ homes, garages and car boots via smart home locks and connected vehicles.
Security researchers demonstrated in 2017 how the internet-enabled camera designed for use in the Key service to reassure customers about its safety could be disabled or frozen, leading the homeowner to believe a front door was closed when it was actually open. Amazon issued a software update to fix the problem.
Amazon customers in the US are able to watch their deliveries being made remotely via security cameras
While an Amazon spokesperson was unable to provide any statistics around adoption of the services, they said customers had given in-home and in-car delivery an average rating of 4.7 stars out of five, “which you just don’t see for something that isn’t making lives better on a daily basis”.
Drivers are only given access to homes or vehicles when the customer has opted to receive an in-home or in-car delivery, they said, adding that customers can block access to their home or vehicle at any point leading up to the delivery.
Key by Amazon is currently available in 50 cities and surrounding areas across the US, but the spokesperson said they “can’t speak to our future roadmap” when asked if the company is considering launching in the UK or other countries.