Walmart installing automated vending machines for online order pickup

(Author : Marianne Wilson)
Walmart continues to explore new ways to make it easier for customers to pick up goods purchased online. 

The discounter is expanding its deployment of a giant self-service kiosk, which it calls a Pickup Tower, that spits out online orders to users of Walmart’s buy-online-pickup-in-store service. Walmart debuted the technology last fall, in a store in Bentonville, Ark., close its headquarters.

“Much like a high-tech vending machine for your online orders, this feature…allows you to pick up items in less than a minute by scanning a barcode sent to your smartphone,” stated Mark Ibbotson, executive VP of central operations, Walmart U.S., in a blog on the company’s website. “The pilot phase has been so successful we’re expanding it to other locations across the country.”

Walmart is also testing a self-service kiosk for pickup of groceries ordered online. The retailer installed a 20-ft.-by-80-ft. kiosk, or small building, in the parking lot of its supercenter in Warr Acres, Oklahoma. According to a report by Mashable, the kiosk has refrigerators and freezers to keep the groceries fresh. Customers type in a code at the kiosk and their groceries appear within a minute. The service is only available to customers who spend at least $30 per order. 

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