Walmart pickup towers

Product pickup towers, at 16 feet tall, are among several new innovations being added to several Walmart stores throughout South Carolina. Here, a customer can scan in the bar code sent to his or her phone and retrieve the online-ordered item in about a minute. Provided/Walmart Inc.

The world's largest retailer is pumping some big bucks into store upgrades across South Carolina.

Walmart said it will invest $45 million on technology improvements and other enhancements at dozens of stores across the state to increase efficiency and expedite shopping.

Eight locations will undergo makeovers, including the Charleston supercenter in West Ashley and another store up the coast in Georgetown.

Others slated for overhauls include stores in Greer, Irmo, Lancaster, Spartanburg, Surfside Beach and Travelers Rest.

“We are continuing our commitment to improving our store experience in South Carolina through store remodels, while also expanding our technology and innovative offerings that make shopping faster and more convenient," said Sean Real, Walmart’s regional general manager for South Carolina.

Among the upgrades coming to the West Ashley store are a cutting-edge electronics department with interactive displays, new apparel brands, new hardware products, revamped bakery and product layouts and offerings, updated pharmacy drop-off and pick-up centers, a designated Walmart MoneyCenter, and new signage, lighting and paint throughout the entire store.

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Work in West Ashley is expected to be completed in the spring. Upgrades to the Georgetown site were not detailed, but they will begin in the fall.

Across the state, new services include free delivery pickup service coming to 20 stores, grocery delivery added to 21 locations, pickup towers at 18 shops, automated delivery truck unloaders arriving at 27 stores and automated floor scrubbers destined for 47 sites.

The automated unloaders are being phased in to do away with manual unloading in the backroom and free up workers to help customers.

"This is a huge investment that will shape the future of retail in South Carolina, changing how people shop and changing how store associates better serve customers," Walmart said in a statement.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.