It's the 21st century, and when it comes to making your grocery shopping easier, more efficient, and more convenient, you've got options. There's FreshDirect. There's Blue Apron. And there are also...giant vending machines.
That's right: Walmart is hoping to join the modern grocery store club (and compete with new, encroaching competitors in the grocery industry, like Amazon) with a self-service kiosk that looks a whole lot like a refrigerated vending machine. Not just any old office break room vending machine, mind you; this one's a nearly unbelievable 20-feet-by-80-feet.
The first one is being tested in the parking lot of a Walmart Supercenter in Warr Acres, Oklahoma. Customers can pick up groceries completely on their own by simply purchasing and ordering their desired products online and then picking them up later in the day using the kiosk. Walmart employees will have already picked out the groceries, packed them, and stored them in the kiosk, so when the customers arrive, all they'll be required to do is type in a code. Within a minute, their groceries will arrive, and they can simply pick them up and take them away. It's almost like a drive-thru grocery store.
The best part? According to Business Insider, there's no added cost for the grocery pick-up. Still, customers must spend at least $30 in order to use the service. However the vending machine will be open 24/7, which means a middle-of-the-night grocery pick-up may become the new normal. The kiosk is also designed to fulfill hundreds of orders on any given day, and more than 30,000 items are avialable to order online, from meat to fresh vegetables.
"Especially for busy families with kids, grocery shopping used to take a couple of hours on the weekend," Walmart spokesman Scott Markley said. "You can now pickup your groceries in just a few minutes and have more time back in your day."