Walmart is discontinuing the use of vast automated pick-up towers within its stores that carry customers’ online orders.
The retailer is decommissioning 300 of these towers and “hibernating” another 1,300 because consumers grew accustomed to — and preferred — curbside pickup during the pandemic.
The 17-foot tall robots are usually located at the front of the store to assist customers in quickly obtaining their purchases, but customers seem to be becoming dissatisfied with the machines.
“The customer indicated that they want just one delivery location, and that location should be outside,” a Walmart spokesperson told The Journal.
The towers — which Walmart had promoted during investor meetings and media interviews — is one of the newfangled robots it has been using to automate its stores in recent years as it relies more heavily on automation to improve service and reduce labor costs.
In January, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer announced that it will turn space at hundreds of its stores into warehouse operations to handle online orders.
“Our customers appreciate the ease and speed of pickup and delivery,” Tom Ward, senior vice president of consumer product in the United States, said at the time. “And we’re committed to serving them more quickly, which is why we’re increasing the number of stores that double as local fulfillment centers.
According to the paper, the pandemic has conditioned consumers to accept curbside pickup and delivery.
According to the paper, Walmart is exploring how it could use the pickup towers differently in the future.
The organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.