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04/23/2021

Walmart to Phase Out Automated Pickup Towers

Walmart is phasing out its automated pickup towers that enabled customers to pick up their online orders through in-store vending-like machines.
walmart pickup tower

The retail giant installed the towers in more than 1,500 stores over the last several years.

The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The towers have been situated at the front of Walmart stores for the past few years and held items until they were picked up by shoppers.

The decision to terminate the 17-foot-tall towers comes as consumers have favored curbside pickups from online orders since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The move also reveals that not all automated solutions will work for retailers as the industry continues to innovate with new solutions. Last year, Walmart also stopped using its in-store roaming robots that tracked inventory when the retailer realized humans can achieve similar results.

 

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“The customer told us they want one pickup spot, and they want that pickup spot to be outside,” a Walmart spokeswoman told WSJ.

The move comes as Walmart has made other changes to its online services, including removing its shipping minimum at the end of 2020 and launching a new Walmart+ membership program to rival Amazon Prime. The retailer, like most of the retail industry, saw a huge increase in online pickup and delivery orders last year throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Walmart is considering other ways to utilize its pickup towers, WSJ reported.