Walmart has built a giant tower inside one of its stores that acts as a vending machine for online orders.
The tower — or automatic pickup machine (APM), as it’s called internally — is being tested in a Walmart store in Bentonville, Arkansas, not far from the company’s headquarters, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The machine is so big that the company had to remove a chunk of the ceiling to fit it inside the store. It’s located right inside the store’s entrance.
We learned about the machine after consulting agency Field Agent spotted it in the wild and sent us a tip.
Here’s how it works: When a customer orders something online for in-store pickup, they get an order number.
When they arrive at the tower, they enter the order number into the machine. Then the machine spits out their package like a vending machine can do with a bottle of Coke.
The machine’s giant size is due to the fact that it holds tons of packages inside. While it requires a lot of space, it’s more versatile than pickup lockers — which Walmart has also tested — because it has the ability to adjust the size of the compartments where packages are kept, according to our source.
Walmart said the machine is still in test phase and it’s gathering feedback from customers.
“We know speed and convenience are important to our customers and we’re always looking for new ways to bring it to them,” Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said. “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.”
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