The Ultimate Guide to Walmart Pickup: How It Works, What You Need & Expert Tips

As a self-proclaimed "picky shopper," I‘ve always been hesitant to use grocery pickup services. I like to meticulously inspect my produce, hand-select cuts of meat, and browse for new products. How could I trust a stranger to choose my items with the same level of care and discernment?

Enter Walmart Pickup. As a retail industry expert, I‘ve watched Walmart‘s pickup offering evolve and expand over the past few years. The retailer has invested heavily in technology, infrastructure and training to build a best-in-class pickup experience. I decided to put my reservations aside and give it a try.

Spoiler alert: My first Walmart Pickup experience was a revelation. Not only did I get everything on my list, but the quality was top-notch, the process was seamless, and I saved SO much time. I‘m officially a convert!

If you‘re on the fence about Walmart Pickup, or just want to learn how to make the most of the service, this ultimate guide is for you. I‘ll walk you through all the need-to-know details and share some pro tips I‘ve picked up along the way.

The Rise of Walmart Pickup

The demand for curbside pickup has skyrocketed in recent years, driven by busy consumers who want a convenient alternative to in-store shopping. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated this shift, as shoppers sought out contactless ways to get their essentials.

Walmart has been at the forefront of the pickup trend. According to the retailer‘s most recent annual report, pickup sales grew an impressive 70% in fiscal year 2021. Curbside pickup is now available at 3,750 Walmart stores across the US — that‘s nearly 80% of all locations.

"The customer told us they want to shop when they want and how they want — and we‘ve enabled that through Pickup and Delivery," said Tom Ward, SVP of Customer Product at Walmart, in a recent interview with Grocery Dive. "We‘ll keep listening to the customer and evolving our business as their needs change."

How Does Walmart Pickup Compare to Other Retailers?

Walmart Pickup stacks up favorably against other major retailers in several key areas:

Retailer Order Minimum Pickup Fee Pickup Locations Pickup Hours
Walmart $35 Free 3,750+ 8am-8pm
Target $35 Free 1,900+ Store hours
Kroger $35 Free 2,200+ Store hours
Amazon Fresh $35-$50 Free with Prime 30+ Varies

*Data as of 9/2021

As you can see, Walmart offers pickup at significantly more locations than its competitors. The retailer also has more consistent and extended pickup hours, making it easier to find a time that fits your schedule.

While Target and Kroger also offer free pickup, their order minimums and location counts are comparable to Walmart‘s. Amazon Fresh requires a Prime membership (minimum $119/year) and its pickup reach is much more limited.

How to Place a Walmart Pickup Order

Now that you know a bit more about what sets Walmart Pickup apart, let‘s walk through the process of placing an order:

  1. Log in to your account on the Walmart app or and select "Pickup & delivery."
  2. Enter your zip code and choose your preferred store. Click "See time slots" to view available days and 1-hour pickup windows. Select an open slot that works for you.
  3. Shop for your items and add them to your cart. The app/site will show you which items are eligible for Pickup. You can sort by department, search for specific products, or browse featured items.
  4. When you‘re finished adding items, click your cart and select "Check out." If you have any age-restricted items (alcohol, tobacco, etc.), make sure you have a valid ID available at pickup.
  5. Enter your payment info and review your order. You won‘t be charged until you pick up your items. Submit your order and wait for a confirmation email.

That‘s it! Your order will be shopped by Walmart associates prior to your pickup time. You‘ll receive email and/or app notifications when your order is ready for pickup, along with detailed instructions.

Tips for Ensuring Top Quality Pickup Items

As a discerning shopper, you may be wondering: How can I make sure I‘m getting the best quality items when I‘m not choosing them myself? Fear not — Walmart has several measures in place to ensure your Pickup order meets your standards:

Training: All Walmart associates who handle Pickup orders go through comprehensive training on how to select the best quality meats, produce, and other perishable items. They‘re taught to look for signs of ripeness, avoid bruising or damage, and check expiration dates.

Substitutions: If an item you ordered is out of stock, Walmart will attempt to substitute a comparable item in its place. You can view and approve any substitutions before submitting your order. If you‘re not satisfied with a substituted item, you can reject it at pickup for a full refund.

Freshness Guarantee: Walmart offers a freshness guarantee on all Pickup produce, meats, and bakery items. If you‘re not 100% satisfied, you can bring back your receipt for a full refund. In my experience, the quality of perishable items from Pickup is just as good as what I would pick out myself in-store.

Customized Requests: When ordering items like deli meat, produce, or meat, you can add personalized notes to specify your thickness preference, desired ripeness, fat trimming instructions, and more. Associates will do their best to accommodate reasonable customizations.

Understanding Substitutions & Refunds

One common concern about using Walmart Pickup is the substitution process. What happens if an item you ordered is out of stock? Will you be stuck with a subpar replacement?

Here‘s how substitutions work: If an item is unavailable, Walmart‘s system will automatically attempt to substitute a similar item of equal or greater value. For example, if you ordered a 12 oz box of Honey Nut Cheerios and it‘s out of stock, you may be offered a 14 oz box of Honey Nut Cheerios or a 12 oz box of regular Cheerios instead.

You have the option to approve or reject substitutions before completing your order. If you reject a substitution, you won‘t be charged for that item. You can also choose to allow no substitutions for specific items or your entire order.

In my experience, Walmart‘s substitution suggestions are usually spot-on. I appreciate that the system looks for a comparable replacement in both size and variety. And if I‘m ever unsatisfied with a substitution, the return process is easy and hassle-free.

Speaking of returns — if you need to return or exchange an item from your Pickup order, simply bring it back to the store with your receipt. You can process returns at the customer service desk or curbside. Perishable items can be returned for a full refund if you‘re not satisfied with the quality.

The Environmental Impact of Pickup

As eco-conscious consumers become more aware of the environmental footprint of their shopping habits, it‘s worth considering the sustainability of pickup vs traditional in-store shopping.

While there isn‘t a definitive answer, some studies suggest that curbside pickup may be more environmentally friendly than individual shoppers making separate trips to the store. When you factor in the consolidated shipping and optimized delivery routes, pickup has the potential to reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion.

Walmart is also taking steps to make pickup more sustainable, like using reusable bags and totes instead of single-use plastic bags. The retailer has also pledged to reach zero emissions across its global operations by 2040.

Of course, the environmental impact of your pickup order also depends on factors like how far you live from your pickup location, the efficiency of your vehicle, and how you dispose of any packaging materials. As with any shopping method, being mindful of your choices and opting for sustainable options when possible can help minimize your footprint.

Pickup Pro Tips for a Seamless Experience

In my time as a frequent Walmart Pickup user, I‘ve learned a few tricks to make the process even smoother:

  • Schedule your pickup when your store is less busy. Aim for off-peak hours like early morning or late evening on weekdays. You‘ll likely have more pickup slots to choose from and encounter shorter wait times.

  • Double check your order and approved substitutions before submitting. This will minimize any surprises or unwanted items at pickup. You can easily modify your order online up until your cutoff time.

  • Have your ID ready if your order includes age-restricted items. Walmart requires a valid government-issued photo ID for pickup of alcohol, tobacco, or other regulated products. The name on the ID must match the name on the order.

  • Use the "Add a Mobile Number" feature in your account settings. This will allow you to receive text updates about your order status and reminders about your pickup time.

  • Give feedback in the post-pickup survey. After you receive your order, Walmart will email you a brief survey. This is your opportunity to rate your experience and share any comments or suggestions. Walmart takes this feedback seriously and uses it to continually improve the Pickup service.

The Bottom Line

Overall, Walmart Pickup is a game-changer for busy shoppers who want to save time without sacrificing quality or value. With a wide selection of items, a user-friendly app, and a commitment to customer satisfaction, it‘s no wonder that Pickup has become a go-to option for millions of Walmart customers.

As a former pickup skeptic turned enthusiastic convert, I can confidently say that Walmart Pickup has exceeded my expectations at every turn. I‘ve been consistently impressed with the accuracy of my orders, the freshness of the items, and the ease of the pickup process.

If you‘re new to Walmart Pickup or on the fence about trying it, I encourage you to give it a shot. With a little bit of prep and know-how, you too can become a Pickup pro and reclaim precious hours in your week.

The future of retail is increasingly digital and delivery-driven. With its expanding Pickup network and ongoing investments in technology and infrastructure, Walmart is well-positioned to lead the charge in this new era of shopping. I, for one, am excited to see how the service continues to evolve and innovate.

Happy Picking!


  • Walmart fiscal year 2021 annual report
  • Walmart press release: "Walmart Continues to Scale Pickup and Delivery for Customers" (4/5/2021)
  • Grocery Dive Interview with Tom Ward, SVP of Customer Product at Walmart (8/31/2021)
  • Coresight Research report: "The Accelerating Adoption of US Curbside Pickup and Its Implications" (10/27/2021)
  • Help Center: Pickup & Delivery
  • Personal experience as a frequent Walmart Pickup user