Walmart is rolling out a new feature in Southern California that provides a faster way to pick up merchandise that was bought online.
In April, the company announced that it planned to add pickup towers, which function like vending machines for picking up online orders, in its 700 stores throughout the country, Business Insider reported.
The report also indicated that the pickup towers will connect to pickup lockers to hold larger items such as televisions.
Walmart expected that 40% of the U.S. population will benefit from the new service. The most recent expansion is at the Pico Rivera shopping center, which is the third location to have pickup towers in Southern California.
Now, shoppers can order items from their phones, and simply pick up their purchase by scanning their order into the Tower using their smartphone.
After browsing through items online on Walmart.com, customers can choose to pick up their order at a nearby store, and associates then load the items into the pickup tower after the order arrives at the store, according to a statement by Walmart.
By scanning a barcode from their phone at the kiosks, customers are able to receive the ordered items within a minute or less.
“You walk up, it probably takes 2 to 3 seconds. Once you scan the code to find the item in the tower. And probably another 2 to 3 seconds for it to [deliver] up here,” said Tiffany Wilson, Walmart Director of Communications.
The tower is similar to a vending machine, except that items don’t just drop down.
“Inside the Pickup Tower, it’s made of a series of trays. So your items are loaded onto a tray. And the tray itself is gently brought down to the window where you can pick up your items,” said Wilson.
Since the rollout of 200 pickup towers last year, Walmart has decided to expand it to 500 additional locations after receiving positive customer feedback. Southern California plans to have five locations for the new feature, said Walmart’s statement.
Wilson said the company is also working on other new services, such as testing vehicle delivery in Arizona.