Amazon and Walmart are locked in a never-ending battle for customers, and it's being fought on prices, choice and convenience. The focus right now seems to be on that last one: convenience, with Walmart carrying out a trial of a new, 24-hour automated grocery pickup kiosk.
Only last month Amazon rolled out its Fresh pickup service in limited form. It allows Prime members to skip the grocery store completely and let Amazon choose and load an order into your car at a pickup location. For now, it's limited to two locations in Seattle, but is sure to expand.
Walmart's pickup kiosk trial is happening in Oklahoma City according to The Verge. Customers select the groceries they want using Walmart's online store, pay, then choose a location and time to visit a kiosk. The only prerequisite is you spend at least $30, and of course there's only one pickup location to choose from right now.
On visiting the kiosk, which is simply a 20-by-80 foot building with multiple pickup bays, there's a kiosk where you enter a five-digit code that opens a bay door with your chilled food already bagged and ready to go. If there's an issue, Walmart provides phone support.
Walmart is slowly expanding its range of pickup-focused services. For example, back in April the company launched Pickup Discount, which applied an automatic extra discount to around 1 million online-only products. In order to qualify for Pickup Discount, you simply order online and then choose to visit a store to collect the order rather than have it delivered.
If this automated grocery kiosk proves popular -- and why wouldn't it? -- then expect to see these kiosks popping up in other major cities in the near future.