Wal-Mart Has Towering Answer to Online Pickup

The nation's largest retailer put one of its first vending machines for online orders in The Colony as one of six planned for North Texas in coming months.


Online ordering and pickup now is easier at your nearby Wal-Mart store thanks to the company’s new Wal-Mart Pickup Tower.

Much like a high-tech vending machine for online orders, the Pickup Tower allows customers to pick up items in less than a minute by scanning a bar code sent to their smartphone. [Photo via Wal-Mart blog]

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation’s largest retailer, installed the first North Texas Pickup Tower June 30 at its store in The Colony, 4691 State Highway 121.

The tower is one of the innovations the company has instituted in recent years as it tries to lure online shoppers into its bricks-and-mortar stores by adding a free option to pick up online orders.

According to The Colony Courier-Leader, the bright red tower landed in The Colony as the first of six towers planned for North Texas Wal-Mart stories in the coming months.

The Tower was tested for months at five stores across the nation.

“It’s fun to see all the new things we’re bringing to customers.”
Anne Hatfield

Previously, customers who ordered online would come to the store and stand in line at the customer service counter to get their package.

With packages held in the Tower, customers who placed orders will receive an email with a barcode. When that barcode is scanned at the Tower, the customer’s order emerges from inside much like a vending machine.

“There’s so much change happening in customer service,” Anne Hatfield, director of communications with Wal-Mart, told the Courier-Leader. “It’s fun to see all the new things we’re bringing to customers.”

Hatfield said the Tower is intended to save customers time.

She told the Courier-Leader that Wal-Mart Corp. chose DFW to receive one of the first Towers because the area is the company’s most dense market.

“We want to make sure we’re testing new innovation in Dallas because we want to hear from our customers there,” Hatfield said.

Not all packages can be delivered through the Tower, however. Hatfield said that most packages are the size of a small microwave oven and can fit in the Tower. Larger packages still will have to be picked up at the customer service counter.

Pickup allows customers to order many items online — including groceries that will be brought to your car.

According to Wal-Mart, 90 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Wal-Mart store and that the company serves 140 million customers a week.

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