HomeValet has introduced a consumer-first home delivery SaaS IoT platform, secure, temperature-controlled Smart Box appliance and subscription service they envision will redefine the home delivery experience and reignite our economy allowing for rapid e-commerce expansion and efficiencies.
A June 2020 HomeValet study* of online consumers revealed shoppers are trading security for convenience creating a less than perfect buying experience and generating considerable consumer anxiety. The survey showed a whopping 81% of all online shoppers are concerned about package theft. For online grocery shoppers, the more times in a month they order groceries for home delivery, the more they personally experienced spoilage, damage, theft: 31% of once per month grocery buyers experienced a problem, climbing to 43% of weekly shoppers. Retailers suffer, too, since 38% of all survey respondents and 51% of grocery buyers simply don’t order certain products online due to concerns of spoilage, damage, and theft. It should come as no surprise an impressive 73% of consumers said they would prefer HomeValet to the status quo, indicating a high probability of market acceptance of HomeValet.
Twenty Years In The Making
While the software and hardware solution that HomeValet provides feels undeniably an invention to meet the demand of the modern consumer, and notably a resource amid a pandemic that has only increased the abundance of online shopping, HomeValet has in fact been twenty years in the making.
Applying over two decades of research on logistics issues with eCommerce home delivery, the original idea for HomeValet started with its CEO and Founder, John Simms, in the late 1990s. Simms came to realize that grocery delivery would not be adopted by consumers because they would need to provide entry into their homes for unattended deliveries, or had to answer the door during restricted time frames. In 1999, he conceptualized an internet connected system and physical receptacle that could provide a contactless, secure and reliable home delivery solution, and filed his first patent for HomeValet.
Six years later, during the eCommerce boom in 2005, a patent was granted for HomeValet’s platform and information system. Last year, a second patent was granted and today, there are eight additional patents pending. The original concept for HomeValet has not changed since its inception, but remains still more relevant than ever: solve the “last yard” of the last mile home delivery problem, driven by the belief that delivery should be fit to consumer’s needs, not the other way around.
“ ‘Consumer-first’ or ‘consumer-centric’ is HomeValet’s way of communicating who the “Most Valuable Person (MVP) in the supply chain is,” said John Simms. “Shoppers would never leave their groceries or packages on the front porch to spoil or to be stolen, but they permit retailers to do it. Consumers need a better option. HomeValet completely changes the paradigm of the security, convenience and safety in favor of consumers.
HomeValet’s concept and initial patent had been in the making for many years, but it wasn’t until 2017 that the company was officially founded. Simms brought on his son, Jack Simms, an experienced software executive and designer, to leverage his extensive knowledge of IoT systems and SaaS solutions, as co-founder and COO to help oversee the business and product development for the company’s next generation Smart Box and subscription service. Within the last few months as HomeValet readies for retail partnerships and direct to consumer rollout of its Smart Box and platform, the team has grown to over 35 people, with notable growth solidified by its recent acquisition of Envolve Engineering and its appointment of eBay veteran Steve Yankovich as its Chief Experience Officer, in September and November of 2020 respectively. Additionally, HomeValet has assembled a best-in-class team of executive advisors spanning c-suite and senior executives from home appliances, fundraising, business operations and beyond, all carefully chosen to help pave the way toward achieving all of HomeValet’s goals.
Designed To Meet The Needs Of Today’s Consumers, Retailers And Couriers
HomeValet seeks to reimagine the current e-commerce delivery supply chain with its patented API-based SaaS platform, subscription app, and consumer-first Smart Box solution, all designed to connect consumers, retailers, and couriers. At full-sail HomeValet will enable automated delivery of packages, groceries and other goods in a seamless, contactless way. HomeValet’s consumer-owned Smart Box is a WiFi connected, climate-controlled, electronically-locked appliance that keeps packages secured, fresh, and is equipped to disinfect exposed surfaces of all deliveries.
If successful in its endeavors, HomeValet has the propensity to become the mainstay in the unattended consumer delivery experience, allowing adopters to take charge of their incoming and outgoing deliveries in the most efficient and safe way. This major shift would give the control back to the consumer. HomeValet isn’t just looking to provide a lock box that sits on a customer’s front porch – but rather enable consumer freedom, convenience and peace of mind with an end-to-end solution that makes it all possible.
Beyond consumer benefits, HomeValet is structured to extend a cascade of other large-scale efficiencies for both retailers and couriers contrived to optimize both the needs of the modern consumer as well as retailer and courier partners’ internal operations and overhead costs. More specifically, HomeValet accommodates retailers and couriers with flexible scheduling, reduced shrink in terms of both delivery damage and theft, and with successful delivery attempts the first time and eliminated need for in-person signatures, is able to defragment a very crowded delivery ecosystem at-large.
Blue Chip Company Pursued, Yet Retailer and Brand Agnostic
I recently wrote about the need for grocery retailers to ‘win the porch’ for online grocery delivery, and while the need for contactless delivery has proved essential over the last year, I think there will be an even stronger demand for unattended delivery fulfillment in the coming months (and years) as routine activities, travel, and more time out of the home becomes safe and acceptable again.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, will be one of the first to activate HomeValet and recently announced a test pilot for participating customers in Bentonville, Arkansas. To prove HomeValet’s case to Walmart, John and Jack Simms recreated an online shopping experience controlling their climate-controlled Smart Box with HomeValet’s smartphone app, monitoring temperatures in the freezer and refrigerated compartments and delivering groceries in real time. In the blog post announcing the pilot, Tom Ward, SVP of Customer Product, Walmart U.S. said “The prospect of this technology is intriguing, both for customers and for Walmart’s last mile delivery efforts. For customers, they don’t need to plan their day around when their grocery delivery will be made. For Walmart, it presents an opportunity to deliver items 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While we don’t have plans to do 24/7 delivery today, it certainly has a nice ring to it.”
And that’s what HomeValet anticipates for the future; a world where convenience and freedom for the customer is the core of its business evolution. Walmart is just one potential retailer that may utilize the solution that HomeValet provides, but the Simms’s father-son duo assured that their platform and Smart Box is brand and retailer agnostic with the intention to have a truly tangible impact on the supply chain across industries.
Rather than disrupting a market, HomeValet views its product and software as an opportunity to establish a solution and category that doesn’t yet exist. Or as Jack, the younger of the Simms put it, “we like to refer to the company and our vision for the future as a next-generation solution that has been needed for decades but has only recently been primed for mass consumer adoption.”
To that end, HomeValet is reimagining systems and norms to meet consumer needs and is well-positioned to pave the way for a more sustainable future while doing so by reducing the number of vehicles on the road, reducing net emissions. Secure delivery also reduces the need for cardboard and plastic packaging in the supply chain. Reduced packaging leads to smaller delivery vehicles with smarter routing as a result.
Future solutions beyond grocery.
HomeValet sees a world where the home delivery experience is unified and automated as much as possible. It’s all about improving the customer experience, particularly, better security, safety, and convenience.
“Experience issues are what stand in the way of several huge commerce verticals entering the e-commerce and home delivery logistics market, like grocery and alcohol,” Jack Simms commented in a recent Quora Session. “This means expanding delivery times to 24 hours a day, never signing for a package again, automatically replenishing perishable consumables like milk, eggs, cheese, and ice cream without running the risk of spoilage, and more.”
By creating its own category, HomeValet plans to build upon ideas and systems existing within a variety of industries not just limited to grocery, but imagining the impact on the overall supply chain, courier services, e-commerce abilities, and more.
What I find interesting is that the company YETI, maker of arguably the best coolers on the market, has so far failed to develop their own version of a smart box that can receive online grocery, restaurant, and package deliveries. YETI is missing out on a billion dollar opportunity.
DynoSafe is actively working behind the scenes speaking with retailers to offer their version of a smart box.
DeliverySafe is another company that offers a smart box. The box from DeliverySafe is what I refer to as the ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’ product designed to meet the needs of consumers without all of the bells and whistles. Future versions of their product will include more technology.
What’s certain is this: The retailer that wins the porch will win the customer. It’s as simple as that.
*Methodology: On behalf of HomeValet, Overbrook Research conducted an online survey in June 2020 among 2,502 American adults.