BENTONVILLE – Walmart has been in the fight to keep up with e-commerce giants like Amazon for a while. The newest way it’s tackling the convenience factor is with the installation of Pickup Towers: “giant vending machines” for customers to receive their online orders.
There are already 200 around the United States and the company has received positive feedback, which has prompted the store to release 500 more by the end of this year. So far, more than 500,000 orders have been collected from these towers and with the new expansion, nearly 40% of the American population will have access to one. The new towers will be physically larger and include connected lockers for larger packages.
The Pickup Towers allow customers to save on shipping fees and get their products faster, instead of waiting in line at the customer service counter or waiting for an employee to find it in the back. Kiosks are located near the store’s entrance, making it easy to scan a barcode and collect their purchase. It’s also cheaper for the company: Fulfilling online orders can be a time- and cost-intensive process through distribution systems and shipping costs.
Walmart is also seeing success in its online grocery pickup service: It’s currently available at 1,200 stores, with plans to implement another 1,000 down the road. What’s next? Rumor has it that Walmart is working on an app to enable shoppers to use Pickup Towers for returns. This move would be extremely valuable to customers and would pair nicely with the company’s existing Mobile Express Returns program.