- In an effort to streamline its "buy online, pickup in store" option, Walmart is beta-testing a new self-dispensing tower in-store, Business Insider reported.
- The giant tower, currently in operation near the chain's Bentonville, AR headquarters, relies on a code given to the purchaser to dispense the proper item.
- Complaints of disarray and human error currently plague many retailer's "buy online, pickup in store" option, Sourcing Journal reports. A recent JDA survey found half of the 46% of consumers using the option were unsatisfied due to in-store problems.
Last-mile delivery can be expensive for shippers, but in-store pickup takes advantage of omnichannel capabilities to reduce these costs while taking advantage of a customer's willingness to travel for a service.
The most present example is the growth of Amazon's grocery pickup services. Demand for fresh goods prevent or make last-mile delivery undesirable, but customers are willing to pay the premium for a set pickup time with all the goods they need.
Wal-Mart's innovation is different in that it is not specialized, but it aims to meet rising consumer demands for instant delivery services. Whereas last-mile delivery must go through sorting processes and distribution centers, even if a company operates its own fleet, in-store pickup services can be fulfilled by on-site staff.
While many retailers already offer this feature, the automated experience aims to reduce time and error to improve customer experience. In addition, it seems to borrow and upgrade from the growing locker-pickup services by providing a single device, thereby reducing space while maintaining security.