Walmart Expands Use Of Giant Orange Vending Machines For Online Pickups

Image courtesy of Walmart

Walking into your local Walmart you could soon be greeted with a giant, orange vending machine, as the big box retailer expands the self-service kiosks in order to provide online customers with a quick option to pick up their orders without the apparent hassle of having to speak to a human being.

A rep for Walmart confirmed to Consumerist that the retailer has expanded its test of so-called Pickup Towers. So far, the company has 15 Pickup Towers in “key” markets, including Tulsa, Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit.

“We’re listening to our customers and will use their feedback to determine the future expansion of the Pickup Tower,” the rep said.

The enormous, nearly floor-to-ceiling machine, which uses ATM-like technology to let customers pick up orders they placed online, was first tested in Walmart’s Arkansas hometown of Bentonville back in November.

The Pickup Tower appears to be Walmart’s latest attempt to provide customers with a convenient, no-hassle online shopping experience. The lack of a long line — along with not having to deal with store staff — could be attractive to younger shoppers.

“Our free Pickup service is a popular way for people to save time and money,” a Walmart spokesperson told Consumerist in November. “We know speed and convenience are important to our customers and we’re always looking for new ways to bring it to them.”

An Arizona Walmart shopper tells Business Insider that the new kiosk is an improvement from the retailer’s other pickup services.

To use the kiosk, customers must first place an order for general merchandise online at a participating store.

Once an order is received by the store, an employee is notified and retrieves the products. The items are then wrapped or boxed and placed inside the machine. As soon as the order has been processed, the customer can scan the barcode on their mobile receipt and the item will appear on a conveyor belt. For now, some stores will continue to offer customers employee assistance in retrieving their items.

It’s unclear if customers using the Pickup Towers will receive Walmart’s recently announced discount for online orders picked up in store.  Items eligible for the discount include a “Pickup Discount” notification on its product page on Walmart.com. The discounts range from just a few dollars to $50.