Walmart introduces automated grocery pickup kiosk at Oklahoma City store
Walmart is trying out an automated kiosk where online shoppers can pick up their groceries, officials with the retail store have announced.
The kiosk is a 20- by 80-foot building in the parking lot at the Walmart Super Center at N Council and W Britton Roads in Oklahoma City.
Walmart spokesman Scott Markley said the kiosk is capable of fulfilling hundreds of orders throughout the day that are placed by customers who shop online or through their mobile browser at walmart.com/grocery.
In an email, Markley said the automated kiosk gives the store's online shoppers another option they can use to save time.
"Especially for busy families with kids, grocery shopping used to take a couple of hours on the weekend," Markley said. But people using the kiosk can pick up groceries in just a few minutes, he said.
More than 30,000 items, including fresh produce, meats, dairy products and organic groceries, can be ordered online for the same price they cost in the store and can be picked up free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The minimum purchase is $30.
The retail operation will ask customers for feedback online as it tests the product during the next several months.
Only pickup point changes
Except for a minimum purchase amount and the delivery point, the online grocery ordering process for customers will be the same.
Customers place and pay for their orders online, and those orders are filled inside the store by Walmart associates that store officials have said are trained to handpick the freshest produce and choicest cuts of meat.
The orders are delivered to the kiosk in bins that are stored inside. The kiosk customer pulls up to the building and walks up to an interface station to enter a pickup code. The kiosk retrieves the order, delivering it to the customer in a process that takes a minute or less.
Anne Hatfield, Walmart's director of communications, said the store operates a similar kiosk concept in the United Kingdom.
"Now we are starting to test some of the same features here in the U.S.," she said.
Other concepts also are getting tested in other markets across the nation.
Another concept, called a Pickup Tower, serves customers who make online buys of general merchandise.
That concept is being tested in five stores — in Bentonville, Ark., in Detroit, in Houston, in Atlanta and in Raleigh, N.C.
Hatfield said each tower is 16 feet tall and 8 feet in diameter and can hold about 300 items. She said a tower is equipped with a sensor that can tell when someone approaches, which prompts it to open a door that gives the shopper access to a scanner.
The machine scans a bar code on the customer's phone, then the machine within seconds gives the customer the package.
"Think of it as operating like a big vending machine. It is amazing."
Hatfield said the goals of those tests and others are designed to determine ways Walmart can bring more convenience to its customers.