ARTICLE – I wrote earlier about Walmart’s new grocery pickup. In the comments, someone complained about Walmart’s regular pickup, and I agreed that it was less than ideal. Several times I’ve ordered from Walmart online, and either because it wasn’t available to ship, I didn’t want to pay for shipping, or I wanted the item right away, I went to the store to pick it up.
Well, I did this again last weekend, and it was completely changed. And a ton better. Walmart has introduced pickup towers and lockers (sometimes called vending machines) at 700 of its stores. Picking up my order was actually fun!
But let me back up.
The previous system would have you order online, and you’d get an email confirmation when your item was ready. (That part hasn’t changed.) To receive your purchase, you had to trek to the back of the store. Then you’d have to wait for an actual person, which often involved pressing a button to summon them from who-knows-where. Then they would have to search for your order, which often meant digging around to figure out your order number and where your item was stored. Then you had to wait for them to actually find it.
More than once it left me grumbling under my breath that I should have scoured the store for it myself or perhaps sprung for shipping if it wasn’t in-stock merchandise.
This weekend our pool hose cracked, and I really wanted to vacuum the leaves from the bottom to start getting it in shape for my little guy’s birthday party next month.
The Walmart site showed only one hose in stock out of the two stores in our town. I could have gotten it delivered but didn’t want to wait. So I gave the online pickup another try. And gosh was I happy I did!
We lumbered to the back of the store out of habit, but a sign directed us to the front for pickup. Apparently, we’d rushed right past the giant orange pick-up tube on our way in.
As we approached the orange tower, glass dropped away from the computer, which asked us to enter our order number or scan our phone (both barcode and order number were on the confirmation email). A couple of seconds after scanning my phone, a bright orange locker popped open behind us! Lo and behold, our pool hose.
The screen reminded us to shut the locker when we were done. And that was it! What had taken upwards of 30 minutes in the past was condensed into mere seconds. Well played, Walmart.