Canadian Tire is evolving in its e-commerce strategy and is building huge self-service lifts in Canada, Canada's first, according to Vice President Assistant to Click & Collect.
"All the feedback from our customers around the purchase of our stores is such that the waiting time is too long to increase their orders," said Alma Obeid.
"The self-service lift really makes this client very fast, taking up to 20 to 30 seconds."
The towers were recently launched in selected locations throughout Canada: Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Saskatoon.
They are similar to a large vending machine. Customers place a PIN or QR code, the machine reads it, a window opens and a package is displayed.
At 16.5 feet tall, the tower takes up to 250 orders.
"We give them the comfort wherever they want," said Obey, "giving them the opportunity to shop as they want and when they want."
Like many other retailers, Canadian Tire claims that e-commerce is a huge part of the business – perhaps the most growing segment.
So after a lot of research and money – the amount was not disclosed – the company came up with towers.
Experts from the Alberta University School of Retail said that technology is changing significantly in the industry as retailers understand that time is money.
"Anyone who can do something more efficiently or faster or better than previous systems will be accepted," said John Prazius.
Practitioners are also not over-worried about potential job losses that can be achieved in this industry by automation.
"I think that many things that are automated are really worldly," he said.
"I think that the remaining jobs will be better and they definitely will need the skills."
Canadian wheels said the towers did not cause job losses, adding that staff would still need to do their jobs.
"The store's staff still pulls the goods out of the floor, they still pack them. The store staff is in fact who's putting it here," Obid said.
"What it really does allows our store staff to provide better customer service to customers standing in line."
A retailer may be the first of the gate when it comes to these towers, while others, such as Walmart, are behind.
The company has announced plans for similar towers in Canada, and it is reported that testing a few of them on Ontario.
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