Walmart is rolling out more massive vending machines for pickup orders
Walmart is on a quest to make its in-store pickup process free of human interaction.
The big-box store is rolling out a giant self-serve kiosk tower for online orders to more than a dozen locations. Customers simply arrange their shipment ahead of time, visit the store, and access their order via a barcode scanner on the side of the machine. Each package is preloaded by workers.
The massive orange towers stand 16 feet tall by 8 feet wide and deliver items through a conveyor belt inside the contraption. Walmart began testing the system last fall in an Arkansas store near its headquarters.
The device isn’t the only giant vending machine being implemented as the retailer looks for ways to compete with Amazon’s hyper-efficient service. Earlier this year, Walmart unveiled a similar, much larger storage unit for grocery orders.
Walmart is banking on its thousands of stores and army of store employees to serve as a key advantage in its ongoing war with the online shopping juggernaut. Other experiments that cater to these strengths include a program in which store workers deliver packages on the way home from work and a partnership with Uber for short-distance delivery orders.
Amazon’s pending blockbuster deal to acquire Whole Foods will only up the ante as the company leverages its own major network of brick-and-mortar stores for the first time.