Walmart to Further Expand Reach of “Pickup Towers”

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — More Walmart stores are adding those massive vending machines that cater to online order in-store pickup.
The retailing giant will expand its automated online order pickup kiosks to 80 more locations across the country over the next several months, according to Business Insider. The pickup vending machine, which was introduced in a single store in Bentonville, Arkansas last year, and the company expanded its reach to 20 stores earlier this month.
Called the Pickup Tower, the kiosk — which stands 16 ft. tall and about 8 ft. wide — greets shoppers at store entrances. After placing their online order, customers receive a barcode on their digital receipt. Upon entering the store, customers scan their barcode via their smartphone on the kiosk’s digital scanner to retrieve their order. The process takes less than a minute, stated Mark Ibbotson, executive VP of central operations, Walmart U.S., in a blog on the company’s website.
A similar concept dedicated to online grocery pickup is also underway. A 20-ft.-by-80-ft. kiosk, or small building, is available in the parking lot of its supercenter in Warr Acres, Oklahoma. By typing in a code at the kiosk, customers get their groceries within a minute. The service is only available to customers who spend at least $30 per order.
Walmart continues to explore ways to streamline its online delivery network, and relies on customer feedback to improve its operations. “Some of what we’re doing will make its way to all our stores; others we’ll simply learn from and use to develop the next great thing,” Ibbotson said. “The only guarantee is that we’ll let you tell us what works best.”
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