45 seconds to collect orders
Walmart (WMT) is rolling out its order dispensers, called pickup towers, to more stores as it steps up efforts to improve its customer experience amid escalating retail competition with Amazon (AMZN). The pickup towers are self-service kiosks that are strategically located at the entrance of Walmart stores.
The towers stand 16 feet tall and eight feet wide. They are designed for customers who order online for in-store pickup, and the idea behind the strategy is to speed up order fulfillment.
Once a customer reaches a Walmart store equipped with the towers, it takes less than 45 seconds to collect the order and walk away. Walmart has rolled out the towers to about 20 stores, and it plans to have them at more than 100 stores in the coming months.
Speed is transforming retail competition. Walmart, Amazon, and eBay (EBAY) are among the retailers that are investing in technologies and infrastructure to enable them to fulfill orders in the shortest time possible.
In addition to its pickup towers, Walmart is also testing a delivery model that involves its employees delivering customer packages on their way home.
Boost e-commerce sales
With Amazon expanding its reach with its acquisition of Whole Foods (WFM), Walmart is banking on innovations like its self-service kiosks to defend its turf. In addition to improving the customer experience, the towers could also help boost Walmart’s online sales, as they would encourage more customers to order online.
Walmart said its US (SPY) e-commerce net sales increased 60% in fiscal 2Q18 (June quarter). The retailer’s overall revenues for the quarter rose 2.1% to $123.4 billion, as shown in the chart above.