Online grocery is on the rise, but still faces great challenges. In particular, the delivery of food to the customer poses major problems for retailers. After all, unlike traditional parcels, fresh or chilled food cannot simply be handed over to a neighbour when the customer is not at home. The risk would be too great that the delivered goods would spoil while they are not being chilled by the neighbour. For this reason, many retailers are looking for practicable solutions to optimize food delivery.

Food delivery: Ideal for families with working parents

The problems faced by grocery companies can best be demonstrated by an example: One of the most important target groups of online grocery are families with two working parents. When they come home after work, they want to spend time with their children or have to accompany them to various activities. This leaves little time for food shopping. In addition, families with small children in particular often attach importance to a healthy diet. Fresh food in particular forms the basis for this. In fact, this implies shopping several times a week. Food delivery can be a way out of this dilemma. Customers save time and can use it for their families. Nevertheless, the refrigerator is always well filled and a varied diet is ensured.

Dealers cooperate with smart home providers

Since this target group in particular is not at home for almost the entire day, however, it is particularly difficult for online grocery to serve them. Until now, it has been necessary to agree on a fixed delivery period, for example, so that the recipient is at home. However, this increases the effort for all parties and greatly limits the possibilities. Many companies are therefore experimenting with scenarios in which smart home technologies can be combined with supply. Amazon, for example, launched the Amazon Key service in 2017. In addition, the US retail group Walmart and the German Edeka Group with its subsidiary Bringmeister have also started initial test projects. The aim of these projects is to give the courier access to the apartment even if the recipient is not at home. In this way he can take the food to the designated place. Fresh food that needs to be chilled could even be stored directly in the refrigerator.

This is how security is guaranteed

If a customer wants to use this service, he does not only have to select the appropriate food online. He also connects to the smart home and authorizes the door. Then he sends the appropriate code to the delivery service. This code is only valid once to prevent misuse. As soon as the courier stands in front of the door, the customer can also optionally receive a message on his smartphone. Surveillance cameras record the courier to make sure that he is only storing the goods and is not stealing valuables. The customer can check this in real time. Alternatively, he takes the pictures and looks at them later.

German consumers are very sceptical so far

Despite all precautions, abuse cannot be completely ruled out. Reports have already circulated that hackers have cracked the Amazon Key system. They are said to have deactivated the cameras and in another case even gained unauthorized access to an apartment. Also due to such news many users are still very skeptical about such offers. This scepticism is particularly widespread in Germany. A survey commissioned by the magazine “Chip”, for example, came to the conclusion that 93 percent would not use such a service. However, this can change quickly. If the first customers use the technology and have positive experiences with it, there is a good chance that it will become widely accepted in the medium term. That is why it is important for companies in this area to consider this possibility at least.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.