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Business Insider has a story by a reporter who went to one of its stores to use its new giant pickup kiosk/tower, and found it “easy and quick” to use, especially when compared to the manned pickup counters that often were inconvenient and inefficient.

According to the story, “To test out the tower, we ordered several items on and selected in-store pickup. A couple of days later, we got an email from Walmart saying our order was ready.

“When we arrived at the store, we found the pickup tower a few steps from the entrance. Its sheer size made it easy to spot — it's staggeringly large, standing more than 16 feet tall and 8 feet wide. When we approached the machine, we were prompted to scan a barcode or enter an order number. We chose to scan the barcode that was included in our email from Walmart. 

“Within five seconds of scanning the barcode, a previously hidden compartment above the screen lit up, revealing a conveyer belt and a cardboard box that was seemingly produced out of thin air. Then a glass door retracted, giving us access to the box.

“That was all there was to it.”

The reporter said she was in and out of the store in about a minute.

The story goes on to say that “it's easy to see why the company is ramping up the rollout of these towers to more stores, but the tower does have its limitations. It can only hold small- to medium-sized boxes, and it doesn't have any refrigeration capabilities for items like groceries. For groceries, Walmart is testing a much larger machine with internal freezers and refrigerators. If that machine is as easy to use as the pickup towers, it will be a game changer for Walmart's grocery business.”
KC's View:
The thing that sticks out to me about this story is how it took a couple of days from the time the order was placed to when it was available in store. Wasn’t it just last week that Amazon announced its expansion of Instant Pickup program, trying to shorten the wait from hours to minutes.

Which ought to give you an idea of how this competition is going to play out.