Walmart is testing kiosk technology in a Bentonville, Ark. store that is designed to make the buy online/pick up in-store process a completely self-service encounter. The 15-foot-high kiosk works in three simple steps:
A customer orders an item online for in-store pickup;
The customer receives an order number at the store and enters it into the machine;
The kiosk, which has been stocked with that day’s items, opens a window to provide the customer access to their item, similar to the way someone would receive a candy bar from a vending machine.
Data and insights collection company Field Agent sent a photo of the kiosk to Business Insider and later blogged about the tech, which remains in a beta testing phase. Given that only one kiosk has been put in place, with no promotion attached, it appears Walmart is in a relatively early testing phase.
Walmart is gathering feedback from customers while it tests the kiosk. While the machine requires a lot of space to hold packages, it can adjust the size of the compartments where packages are kept, according to the report.
With Amazon already launching pickup lockers within convenience stores and malls and reportedly planning its own brick-and-mortar c-stores that will serve as click-and-collect locations, Walmart likely feels that an oversize vending-machine-style kiosk is the next step in engaging consumers digitally while still bringing them into the store.
“We know speed and convenience are important to our customers, and we’re always looking for new ways to bring it to them,” Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg told Business Insider. “We are excited to be one of the first companies to test this new technology and are looking forward to hearing feedback from our customers and associates.”