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Walmart takes on Amazon's grocery pickups with automated kiosks

You can pick up your food at any time of the day -- no help required.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
June 6, 2017
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Walmart isn't letting up in its quest to one-up Amazon whenever possible, especially when it comes to in-person pickups. The retailer is testing a kiosk in Oklahoma City that lets you pick up your online groceries at any time of the day or week. Instead of parking and waiting for a staffer to bring out your food, you enter a pickup code and wait for the kiosk to automatically fetch the order from bins inside. You need to spend at least $30 and order during store hours, but there are no special fees or other limitations. If you can't fetch your groceries until 3AM on Sunday, you're fine.

Whether or not you see more kiosks like this in the US will depend on feedback over the next several months. Walmart is already exploring a similar concept in the UK, however, and it's also experimenting with vending machine-like "Pickup Towers" in five cities across the US (Atlanta, Bentonville, Detroit, Houston and Raleigh) that streamline the process of retrieving non-food orders.

It won't be shocking if Walmart pushes forward. Amazon just opened its first drive-through grocery store, and it's already piloting an internet-powered grocery store with no checkout lines. If Walmart doesn't automate some of the shopping experience, there's a risk that Amazon will snap up those customers reeled in by the prospect of faster shopping.

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