We compared Amazon’s lockers and Walmart’s pickup towers to see which one was easier to use — and there was a clear winner

We compared Amazon’s lockers and Walmart’s pickup towers to see which one was easier to use — and there was a clear winner


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Amazon Lockers and Walmart pickup towers are supposed to make online shopping easier. We put them to the test.
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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Walmart and Amazon‘s pickup lockers allow shoppers to place orders online and pick them up in stores, rather than having their packages shipped home.
Walmart has pickup towers in 700 stores. Amazon has more than 2,000 locker locations.
We compared the two online-order pickup systems and found there was a clear winner.
Walmart and Amazon‘s pickup lockers allow shoppers to place orders online and pick them up in stores, rather than having them shipped home.
In April, Walmart announced it would be adding pickup towers to 700 of its stores, making the option to pick up orders available to 40% of the United States.

Likewise, Amazon has installed lockers in thousands of locations in more than 70 cities across the US. Shoppers are able to ship orders directly to the nearest locker location instead of their homes. Prime members can still get free two-day or same-day shipping to lockers, depending on their location.
In-store pickup is supposed to make shopping easier by allowing customers to skip lines and get their items right away, without having to pay higher rates for shipping. The service is also meant to help prevent package theft.

Amazon Lockers offer the additional perk of allowing shoppers to make returns. Regardless of where the product was delivered, you can drop it off in a locker to return it. Walmart’s pickup towers do not offer a similar feature.
Both the Walmart pickup towers and Amazon Lockers have their limits – larger products can’t be delivered to either one. However, Walmart is working to change this with its own pickup lockers, which can hold larger items like TVs. The pickup lockers are currently being tested at 10 Walmart stores in the Washington, DC, area.
We tested out both pickup systems for online orders and found one was much easier to use than the other:
I used Walmart’s pickup towers first.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
I ordered two small products on Walmart’s website and then selected “pickup” at checkout. Choosing pickup saved me $5.99 in shipping fees.

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Walmart
I chose my location and filled out the fields as prompted.

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Walmart
After placing my order, I received an online confirmation and an email saying my order would be available for pickup on Friday, November 9.

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Walmart
But on November 7, I got an email that my order was ready for pickup, and that I had seven days to go get it. It was a longer window than I would get with the Amazon Locker later.

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Walmart
The seven-day pickup window for Walmart was definitely a perk, because I had plenty of time to pick up my items on my own schedule.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
I went to the Walmart in Secaucus, New Jersey. The pickup towers were located at the front of the store.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
The towers were hard to miss.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
When I got to the tower, I was prompted to either scan the barcode in my email or type in my order number.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
The scanner didn’t work, so I typed in my order number myself.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
I was surprised when the screen said my order was not in the pickup tower, so I went to the second tower and tried again there.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
Again, I got an error message. After trying both machines a second time, I had to press the help button on the screen and wait for an employee to come over to help me.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
The employee was able to look up my order and found that I had one item in each tower, which was a bit annoying. After finding the products, I entered my order number again, and a hidden conveyer belt above the screen lit up. The glass door slid open, and I was able to grab my order.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
There was a size limit for the pickup towers. Walmart’s towers can hold small- to medium-sized boxes, and Amazon’s lockers have a limit of 19 x 12 x 14 inches.

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Business Insider’s Hayley Peterson tested out the service in 2017.
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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson
Source: Business Insider, Amazon
The whole process only took a few minutes, but it was definitely frustrating that my order was split between both towers. Having to wait for an employee to come help seems to defeat the purpose a bit, because I would have waited just as long had I waited on a checkout line. Besides that, it was a pretty simple process.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
Plus, I could see how it would be helpful for avoiding large store crowds, since you don’t have to walk all the way through the store to access it.

I went to Amazon’s pickup locker next. The closest one to my office is located in a Century 21 store in New York’s Financial District. The online ordering process was nearly identical to Walmart’s.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
I selected “free locker pickup” at checkout and chose the location nearest to me. There were 20 nearby Amazon Lockers, compared to one nearby Walmart pickup tower.

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Amazon
Amazon Lockers can be located in all kinds of places, from convenience stores to Whole Foods, which makes them easier to access.

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A man walks past an advert for Amazon Locker outside a Whole Foods Market store in Santa Monica, California.
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Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
My initial confirmation email said the products would be arriving between November 13 and 15, but on November 6, I got an email that they had arrived, and that I had four days to pick them up.

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Amazon
The Amazon Locker was located on the fifth floor of the six-floor department store.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
I took the escalators up and followed the signs towards the locker. Though it wasn’t immediately obvious, it ended up being pretty easy to get to.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
The locker was painted to match the rest of the store. It was tucked away in the corner, with nothing else around it. The locker was massive.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
All I had to do when I got to the locker was scan the barcode in my confirmation email under the screen. There were no additional steps, and no need to type any information on the screen.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
A locker with my package in it popped open instantly when I scanned the code. The process must have taken 10 seconds total. It was definitely much more convenient and much easier than Walmart’s pickup tower, and is the clear winner of the two.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

I hereby give credit where credit is due to the author

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