This week the folks at Walmart announced the arrival of a whole bunch more “high-tech pickup towers” at a number of stores across the United States. These giant towers appeared at just under 200 Walmart stores in the past year. Now the store is aiming to expand the program to “more than 500” stores by the end of this year. You might see this massive machine at your Walmart soon… very soon.
The concept isn’t brand new. Walmart is one of a variety of stores which implemented “in-store pickup” for online orders over the past few years. First, customers head to the store’s website, order something they want (something that might not normally be at their local store). Once the customer receives notification that the item’s been shipped to their local Walmart, they go to said store to retrieve their ordered product.
Before these towers, a customer would have to go to the “back desk” at any given Walmart to retrieve their online-ordered product. They’d have to speak with a Walmart employee who would then log in to their computer and look up the order, confirm it was meant for the customer, then send the customer (with their new product) on their way. Most Walmart stores still have that service, complete with human interaction.
With the Walmart Pickup Tower, Walmart employees can keep on doing whatever else they’d have been doing had they not needed to assist a customer. The customer can come in to a Walmart and pick their product up without needing to speak with anyone. At last, all is automated.
One can log in to this tower with their phone by showing a scannable code. This code can also be printed and scanned. Other methods of login could potentially work too – but everyone loves using their phone for ALL the things. Because it’s just a code scan, it doesn’t matter what kind of smartphone is used – iOS, Android, BlackBerry, or any other lesser-known brand.
Except the products still need to be brought to the tower by an employee, after they’ve been loaded off a delivery truck. And the customer still needs to literally go to their local store, if they don’t want to pay for their product to be shipped directly to their home. But why do that when you can interact with a Pickup Tower?