Walmart Inc. announced yesterday it is expanding its Pickup Towers, adding more than 500 of the towers to stores across the country, bringing the total to more than 700 by the end of the year. The towers are automated machines located in Walmart stores that allow a shopper to pick up her online order by scanning a bar code that Walmart sends to her smartphone. With this expansion, the towers will be available to nearly 40% of the U.S. population, Walmart says.
Walmart, No. 3 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, began testing the towers in 2016 and has now rolled them out to nearly 200 stores. Consumers have picked up more than half a million orders through the towers since it first started testing them, Walmart said in a blog post yesterday.
Once an online order is ready, Walmart sends the customer an email or text notification with a code. Then she walks to the Pickup Tower in the Walmart store she’s selected, scans her code and can retrieve her order in less than 15 seconds. 90% of U.S. consumers live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, Walmart says, and the chain says it serves more than 140 million customers a week.
Last month, Walmart announced plans to put FedEx Office locations in 500 Walmart stores over the next two years. The move comes after a pilot with 47 Walmart stores. The deal offers customers packing, printing and shipping services at the locations. Customers also can have online orders that are being delivered by FedEx held at Walmart stores for up to five days.
The 47-store Walmart pilot was “unbelievably successful,” Carl Asmus, president of FedEx Cross Border, said last month at the Shoptalk conference in Las Vegas, as shoppers taking care of their deliveries often bought something while at the Walmart.
162 retailers in the Internet Retailer Top 1000 offer buy online, pick up in store.
Internet Retailer surveyed consumers in March 2017 and again in March 2018 asking whether shoppers have purchased products online and picked orders up in stores. The number of shoppers who said yes increased four percentage points year over year, with 62% of consumers in the 2018 survey saying they had purchased a product online and picked it up in store in the past year.