Walmart Is Getting Rid Of This In-Store Feature
Getting grocery items safely was a huge concern for shoppers and chains when the pandemic started — and curbside pickup rose to the challenge, spelling bad news for other services. The gigantic, orange automated pickup towers in over 1,500 Walmart locations were convenient pre-pandemic and when lockdown orders began, but now, the chain is getting rid of them.
Around 300 will disappear from stores, and 1,300 have already been "hibernated," according to The Wall Street Journal. The towers are 17-feet-tall and dispense online orders, but Walmart wants to focus on the method customers say they want, and it's not in-store, but rather, in the parking lot. (Related: Grocery Shortages To Expect in 2021, According to Experts.)
The pickup towers aren't the only robotic machine Walmart has gotten rid of. In 2020, the chain stopped using a robot that scans aisles for inventory, WSJ says. This was just one step Walmart took during the pandemic to reinvent the buying process. It also tested drone deliveries, driverless trucks, temperature-controlled delivery smart boxes, and more.
"We have a powerful set of assets that provide a strong foundation as we write the next chapter of the Walmart story. We have made gains in recent years that we'll protect, including the value for customers we offer and the lead we've built in pickup services," Walmart's President and CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement about the 2021 Annual Report. "We're broadening the scope of products and services we offer to increase relevance in more customers' lives, while layering in a more robust digital experience to improve engagement."
The news comes as other chains are modifying their own services and rules. Costco, for example, just quietly got rid of a pandemic rule — limiting the amount of toilet paper you can buy.
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