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Walmart Ditches Automated Pickup Towers For Higher Curbside Pickup: WSJ

Walmart Ditches Automated Pickup Towers For Higher Curbside Pickup: WSJ
  • Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT) is eliminating the vast automated pickup towers in over 1,500 stores to deliver online orders, reflecting a growing focus on curbside pickup services and withdrawal from store automation initiatives, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • Walmart started to remove or deactivate the 17-foot-tall machines from last year. The retailer evacuated 300 machines from stores and deactivated around 1,300 machines.
  • Reportedly, customers preferred a pickup spot outside the store, as per Walmart spokeswoman.
  • The pickup towers served as vending machines for online orders, holding items until collection. Walmart aimed to save time and cost of online order pick up through the machines. 
  • Last year, Walmart stopped using Bossa Nova Robotics Inc's aisle-roving, inventory-tracking robots on finding similar results with human efforts.
  • Walmart has ramped up its online grocery curbside pickup and home-delivery business in recent years. The initiatives included expansion of service and nongrocery product assortment.
  • The pandemic has accelerated curbside pickup ramp-up efforts. The retail giant is also considering an alternative use for the pickup towers.
  • Walmart CEO John Furner had phased out some of the consumer-facing automation technology added to stores under his forerunner.
  • The pickup machines were manufactured by Cleveron and sold through Bell & Howell. Cleveron disclosed its continued cooperation with Walmart in other areas.
  • Price action: WMT shares are trading flat at $141.20 in the premarket session on the last check Thursday.

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