Wal-Mart debuts automated grocery pickup
Call it an ATM for groceries.
Wal-Mart Stores is testing an automated kiosk to distribute online grocery orders to its shoppers at one of its stores near Oklahoma City.
The technology allows customers doing online grocery orders at the store to select self-service as a pickup option. Customers arriving at the kiosk provide a confirmation code on a screen, after which bay doors open revealing an assembled order in less than 60 seconds, Scott Markley, a Walmart spokesman, said Friday.
The test began recently and is currently in a single location in Warr Acres, Okla. Markley declined to comment on plans for further rollout. Walmart’s Asda division has opened similar units in the United Kingdom.
The unit, dubbed 24-Hour Pickup, is 20 feet wide by 80 feet long and can hold 30,000 items including chilled and frozen products, Markley said. It supports five jobs but can operate unmanned, allowing for 24-hour availability.
“All year long our customers are looking for ways to save time and money. Especially for busy families with kids, grocery shopping used to take a couple of hours on the weekend. You can now pick up your groceries in just a few minutes and have more time back in your day,” Markley said.
Prices for online orders retrieved at the center are the same as those in-store. There is a $30 minimum order.
The unit represents the potential to fulfill some online grocery orders more efficiently while giving customers more flexibility in selecting times to pick up.