Eldersburg Walmart becomes first in Carroll County to add 'tower' for picking up online purchases

The Sykesville Walmart is the first in Carroll County to get the Pickup Tower technology, and the device is expected to be ready for use by the end of the week.

Eldersburg’s Walmart will become home to Carroll County’s first Pickup Tower, a device tasked to help make shoppers’ lives easier that is expanding throughout the United States.

Workers continued installment of the device Tuesday night, Oct. 23, with hopes of it being ready for use by the week’s end. The 16-foot-tall structure stands in the entry and exit portion of the store on the side opposite to the grocery section.


“It’s a new system that Walmart has that makes pickup convenient for our customers,” said Sean Greaves, store manager at the Walmart at 6400A Ridge Road.

The Eldersburg store will be the fifth Walmart in the state to have a Pickup Tower. These structures are 16 feet tall and function like “high-tech vending machines,” the company says.

Bell and Howell technicians Phil Melia, left, and Tom Newton assemble the express pickup tower being installed at the Eldersburg Walmart Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018.
Bell and Howell technicians Phil Melia, left, and Tom Newton assemble the express pickup tower being installed at the Eldersburg Walmart Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

In order to use the tower, shoppers choose from nongrocery items available on and select the pickup option at checkout. Once items arrive at the store, an associate loads it into the tower and customers can retrieve it by scanning a barcode sent to their phone.

There is no additional cost to ordering online and using the tower, and there is also no limit to how much a customer can order. The tower holds up to 300 items on average, and can hold packages up to a medium-sized microwave, according to Walmart.

If an item that is too big is ordered, a store associate will be alerted when the customer scans their phone and the item will be brought to them.

Greaves said ordering items and using the tower is simple.

“They can place [and order] that day. They can actually pick the item up within two to four hours,” he said, though some items could take as long as two to three days if they aren’t in stock locally.

“It’s actually a great idea because our customers come in and they’re serviced in a few minutes,” he said, adding it’s much faster than the traditional system where customers have to shop and wait in line.

Greaves said there are a lot of customers who are excited to see the device installed locally. And, he said, he thinks once most people are comfortable with the process, it will make their lives easier.

“It feels really good [to be the first store in the county with the device],” he said. “I think a lot of our customers will like it.”

This is the fifth device of its kind in the state. The other towers are at Walmarts in Arbutus, Salisbury, Hagerstown and California, according to Walmart.

These machines were placed in about 200 Walmart stores nationwide in the last year, equating to more than half a million orders retrieved through the towers, according to the company’s news release. Walmart is working to expand more than 500 additional Pickup Towers in stores across the U.S., which would make the technology available to nearly 40 percent of the country’s population.