Walmart’s giant pickup towers let customers retrieve online orders | Smart

Walmart is installing giant Towers in stores across the country so can pick up their online orders in seconds.

Walmart is feeling the heat from Amazon and other online retailer and now testing new technology to fight back.

The company's latest innovation? Giant Pickup Towers that let you retrieve an online order in seconds.

tech reporter rich demuro looks up at the walmart pickup tower at a store in lancaster ca

We visited a Walmart store in Lancaster where the 16-foot tall machine was recently installed. You can't miss it – it's right when you walk into the front door.

The larger than life machine lets customers retrieve items they've ordered online for in-store pickup.

Think of it as a giant vending machine. After a customer orders an item (or several), a Walmart associate will retrieve it from the floor. It's then loaded into the machine. The customer gets a text that their order is ready for pickup.

Once you arrive at the store, all you have to do is scan the barcode that was sent to your phone and the machine springs into action – retrieving your item from a cubbyhole inside and delivering it almost instantly.

If your order doesn't fit into the machine, there are lockers on the side for oversized items that will spring open.

I really wish they made the giant pickup tower clear so customers would be able to see the inner workings, but it's still pretty visually impressive.

Walmart tested the tower in 200 stores, the technology now expanding to an additional 500.

“This is just another option, giving customers another option, whether they like to shop in store, online or a combination of the two,” explained Tiffany Wilson, director of communications for Walmart.

Speaking of options: Walmart's got one more new way to shop: online grocery pickup.

Place an order online, choose a timed pickup window and head to the store. Park in a designated pickup spot, call a special phone number and an associate will come out and load your items into your car.

My question: will the Walmart associates pick out the best fruits, vegetable and choicest pieces of meats as I would?

The answer is yes. Walmart explained to me that an entirely new role called “personal shopper” was created specifically for the new service.

“This is a job that we never had before the existence of online grocery pickup.  They're trained for several weeks. They know how to pick out the best tomato… I think you'll be really impressed with the skills that they have to pick out groceries for you,” said Wilson.

There are no additional fees for either service and the prices are the same as you would pay in store.

Take $10 off your first online grocery pickup order with code WOWFRESH.

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