After receiving positive feedback on its Pickup Towers, Walmart is rolling out 500 additional machines – with some new added features. The towers will also come equipped with Pickup Lockers to enable customers to receive merchandise such as televisions, Chain Store Age reported.
“Our customers have been clear: They love the Pickup Tower," Walmart wrote in a blog post. "But, they also told us they wanted the ability to retrieve larger items the same way.”
To use the Pickup Towers, which are 16 feet tall and approximately 8 feet wide, customers place an order online and receive a barcode on a digital recipe. When they enter the store, they scan the barcode from their phones on the machine’s scanner to pick up the order in a process that lasts for less than 60 seconds.
Walmart said the reception to the existing 200 kiosks was “overwhelming positive" and that customers have picked up more than a half million orders since their introduction. The retailer debuted the first of the giant self-service kiosks in the fall of 2016 in a Bentonville, Arkansas store.
The Pickup Towers are just for customers using the buy-online-pick-up-in-store service, although a similar self-service kiosk was in the works for customers who use Walmart.com to shop for their groceries. A pilot was tested in the parking lot of the Walmart Supercenter in Warr Acres, Oklahoma.
When online grocery shoppers arrive at the kiosk, they can key-in an access code to trigger the machine to retrieve their order. Employees pack orders into bins ahead of time and store them in the 20-by-80-foot building, equipped with freezers and refrigeration to keep food fresh.
Unlike the Pickup Tower, which is located inside the store, the grocery kiosk has the potential to be open 24 hours a day. The big box chain may have hoped that the kiosk would provide an edge over eCommerce competitor Amazon, which finally opened its Seattle drive-through grocery pick-up facilities to the public.