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article imageWalmart to add 500 Pickup Towers to its stores this year

By Ken Hanly     Apr 8, 2018 in Business
Over the course of this year, Walmart intends to add a total of 500 Pickup Towers to its stores in the US. The towers are like high-tech vending machines which deliver customer's online purchases to them.
The towers will help Walmart compete with Amazon
The company had already introduced the towers into 200 stores last year. Since then more than half a million orders have gone through the towers. By the time, the 500 new towers are added about 40 percent of the US population will have access to them.
The towers will leverage its numerous brick-and-mortar stores to enhance their online sales. Last April, it announced a "pickup discount" on a million online items if they picked up items at their stores. The store delivery saves the company considerable money. The company has its own fleet of more than 6,700 trucks that deliver to stores from 4,700 fulfillment centers.
Not only are customers saving more on their orders but when they come to pick up their items, they may take the opportunity to do further shopping in the stores. With the Pickup Towers there is no shipping charge.
How the Towers work
Customers shop online in the usual manner. They then wait for an email which tells them that their item or items are available at a local Walmart. The customer receives a barcode which they then have scanned by the Tower which then sends down the items.
The new Towers also will have pickup lockers a new feature that will allow customers to pick up larger items such as TVs and mini-fridges. Some articles such as a 65 inch TV still wont fit. Walmart's rival Amazon has had a local locker program for some time. With its acquisition of Whole Foods it now has many new store locations for its lockers. Still Walmart has the advantage of many stores that it can use to place the towers and this will help them compete and lure possible Amazon customer
Walmart is also adding new means of serving customers. It offers online grocery ordering with curbside pickup and in some stores grocery deliveries. It has partnered with Mobile Express Scan & Go to just shop and skip the checkout line and also with Google for voice ordering and Google Express integration.
One article suggests that Walmart should consider where they place the new Pickup Towers: "The question, though, is if they'll be placed in more convenient locations. Some existing stores have them in the very back, which is good for Walmart -- you're more likely to buy stuff while making a pick up -- but kind of terrible for everyone else."
More about Wlamart, Pickup Towers, Amazon
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