Is your car trunk the new post office box? It could be if a new service from Phrame and Delivery.com catches on. The two companies announced today the conclusion of a successful pilot that saw deliveries made directly into car trunks in an attempt to provide a new method of convenience for grocery shoppers.
Billing itself as the world’s first smart license plate frame, Phrame is a physical device that turns your license plate holder into a “military grade” secure lockbox where you can store your keys. Using the accompanying mobile app, you unlock the box and retrieve your keys. And just like smart locks for your home, you can also grant temporary access to your Phrame to a third party, like a delivery person. In the pilot program with Delivery.com, delivery staff accessed a customer’s car trunk via the Phrame app and successfully placed laundry inside the car.
According to the press announcement, the Phrame app notifies the car owner when the delivery is happening. Delivery drivers have 90 seconds to make the drop off and return the keys inside the Phrame (presumably an alarm will go off otherwise).
While the pilot between the two companies was for clean clothes, Delivery.com also provides delivery of food, alcohol and other home goods.
The battle between grocery giants like Kroger, Walmart and Amazon/Whole Foods to get you your groceries fast is heating up throughout multiple fronts. Two-hour delivery is table stakes for any grocer, so a lot of innovation happening to provide greater levels of convenience for customers. Kroger has started using self-driving delivery cars, Walmart is building out robot fulfillment centers for expanded drive-through pickup, and Amazon Key is a service that lets delivery drivers drop off packages inside your house when you’re away.
If the thought of a stranger going into your house while you’re gone creeps you out — you’re not alone, which is what makes in-trunk delivery such a potentially tantalizing delivery alternative. In-trunk delivery would let you receive packages while you are parked at work (or potentially anywhere else, depending on the delivery window). But in-trunk would also be useful when the car is parked at home. Not only could you have packages delivered while you’re away without letting anyone into your home, but packages could also be delivered while you are at home without interruption to your work or a baby sleeping. Amazon itself launched an in-trunk delivery program earlier this year through a partnership with GM and Volvo.
Phrame didn’t mention any further partnerships or pilot programs at this time, but it’s definitely a trend worth following to see if people will transform their personal space into a mobile post office.