The battle over retail convenience is heating up among the industry’s biggest players, and Twin Cities metro residents will soon have a chance to experience Walmart’s response to Amazon’s Locker and Target’s Drive Up programs.
Coming soon to the Walmart Superstore in Andover will be the retailer’s Pickup Tower system. The tangerine-colored, 16-foot hubs operate much like a vending machine, but for orders placed online. From a screen built into each Pickup Tower, customers are asked to enter their order number or a barcode they received after placing their order online. The machine will then whir to life as a conveyor belt within delivers the order—secured in a package—to a retrieval door by the pickup screen.
Walmart claims its Pickup Towers provide an in-and-out experience, taking less than a minute.
Most of Walmart’s Pickup Towers are also paired with Pickup Lockers for large items, such as a new TV.
The Pickup Tower coming to Walmart’s Andover location will be the retailer’s sixth in Minnesota, but its first in the metro area, a Walmart spokesperson says. The Bentonville- Arkansas-based company is planning to install at least another five in Minnesota this year: in Burnsville, Roseville, Austin, Worthington, and Winona.
Pickup Towers have popped up in hundreds of Walmarts across the country. To date, more than half a million orders have been placed and retrieved from the high-tech hubs.
The Pickup Tower joins a host of other “convenient pick-up” options available at various Walmart stores, including grocery pick up, grocery delivery, and Check Out With Me, a service in which Walmart employees are stationed around the store with cellular devices and Bluetooth printers to help customers check out faster.
Because it’s all about getting in and out as quickly as possible—especially in this weather.
A Walmart customer picking up a large order from the Pickup Lockers located next to the retailer's Pickup Tower. (Photo courtesy of Walmart)