Walmart is continuing to take on Amazon in its quest to become your convenient, budget-friendly retailer of choice, and its latest offering comes in the form of what the company calls a “giant vending machine.” Officially dubbed Pickup Towers, Walmart promises that these machines will help customers receive their online orders more efficiently, and better yet, help them save money on shipping.
Already, these Pickup Towers exist in 200 stores across the United States. But now, as a result of an “overwhelmingly positive” customer response, Walmart is looking to add 500 more by the end of 2018, bringing the total number of these large vending machines to more than 700. Thus far, more than 500,000 orders have been collected from the Pickup Towers, and Walmart expects this number to explode in the coming months. In fact, with this latest expansion, the brick and mortar seller says that nearly 40 percent of the American population will be able to access a Pickup Tower.
While the Pickup Towers certainly provide another level of convenience to Walmart shoppers, they’re also a strategic move for the retailer. After all, Walmart has to spend a lot more to deploy its fleet of more than 6,700 trucks to individuals homes and businesses than it does to send these vehicles straight to its stores.
Using the Pickup Towers is quite straightforward. Customers will still complete their purchases online, but rather than waiting for a package to arrive at their door, they’ll instead await an email that notifies them of their items’ availability at a nearby tower. From there, they’ll need only make their way over to the tower, scan the barcode that comes with the email at the tower’s kiosk computer, and allow the package to make its way down. And with the introduction of the 500 new towers, Walmart is also debuting Pickup Lockers, which will stow larger purchases like televisions (which probably shouldn’t come tumbling down a large vending machine.
“As we continue to innovate, we’ll keep listening to our associates and customers to improve the Walmart experience,” the company noted. “And who knows? – maybe next time you’re in a Walmart store you’ll be greeted by the newest way to save time and money.”