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Test location allows for 24/7 pickup from online orders
Walmart testing large kiosks to house fresh produce
Will customers enjoy picking their produce from their devices? Walmart aims to find out. The big box store is testing 24 Hour Online Grocery Pickup. It’s self-service pickup ‘kiosk’ which is about 20’ x 80’, located in the outer parking lot of its Warr Acres, Oklahoma location.
Customers make their choices online and once they get to the store, by typing in a designated code at the access point, a door opens to allow them to pick their groceries from a bin. Even though there’s no human customer service involved from the customer’s point of view, Walmart employees can apparently fulfill hundreds of orders throughout one day. Pickup can be fulfilled in as fast as 60 seconds or less, according to Scott Markley, media relations for Walmart’s head office.
Up to four customers can simultaneously pickup their groceries. “Our Personal Shoppers are trained to carefully handpick the freshest produce and choicest cuts of meat, just as if they were shopping for their own families,” said Markley. “Groceries are kept in refrigerators; frozen food and ice cream are kept in freezers. Your order always shows up fresh and at the right temperature.”
Meant for money and time saving
It’s clear that saving money and time is top of mind for most customers, but grocery shopping isn’t quite the luxury experience for most people – there could be great appeal in picking an order up in just a few minutes. Markley says prices would remain the same – no inflated fees for a service such as this. “More than 30,000 items, including fresh produce, meats, dairy products and organic groceries can be ordered online and picked up completely free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” If you have a cell phone or a computer, the only caveat is a minimum purchase of $30. “This is one of many tests to provide even more convenience to customers,” he said. “We’ll listen to our customers carefully and let them lead us.” At this point it’s unclear regarding quality control measures during testing or the process for determining orders that aren’t picked up.
A location in Bentonville, Arkansas has a huge floor-to-ceiling machine that allows customers to pick up their orders placed online, used similar to an ATM machine. Currently this model is only for orders of general merchandise online.
Early days for testing
The larger produce kiosk is a test model and it’s very early days. “We’re more focused on introducing our Online Grocery service to new areas for more to enjoy,” he said. It will be definitely something to watch out for if they decide to move forward and blanket the country with this new service, which could compete with other big online fulfillment companies such as Amazon and its recent acquiring of Whole foods.
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