As a fellow ecommerce seller, I know that order picking is the backbone of any retail fulfillment operation. Walmart utilizes thousands of dedicated pickers across its vast network of distribution centers to locate and prepare millions of online orders each year.
But what is life really like as a Walmart picker? As someone who has spent years analyzing retail fulfilled-by-merchant (FBM) and fulfilled-by-Amazon (FBA) operations, let me give you an insider‘s perspective.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll tell you everything you need to know about succeeding as a Walmart picker. I‘ve researched the job duties, pay, qualifications, required skills, pros and cons, and more so you can determine if it‘s the right role for you.
Let‘s dive in!
What Does a Walmart Picker Do?
Walmart pickers, also known as order pickers or warehouse pickers, are responsible for locating and retrieving (aka “picking”) items from inventory to fulfill online customer orders and stock stores.
As a picker, you’ll spend your shifts walking or riding electric pallet jacks through distribution center aisles, scanning barcode labels to identify the correct items needed. It’s fast-paced, detailed work that forms the foundation of Walmart’s ecommerce operations.
While some pickers work in Walmart stores, over 90% work in dedicated ecommerce distribution centers. These massive warehouses store millions of unique products.
According to Walmart’s latest annual report, they shipped over 3.5 billion online orders in 2021. That’s almost 10 million packages per day!
Suffice to say, fulfillment is a massive undertaking. Efficiency is everything. Walmart pickers play a crucial role in keeping orders flowing smoothly to meet this incredible demand.
Key Responsibilities and Duties
As a Walmart picker, your main duties will include:
- Reviewing order lists on a handheld RF scanner device
- Traversing through the warehouse aisles to locate required items
- Scanning UPC barcodes and bin locations for accuracy
- Counting and verifying picked items match quantities needed
- Placing picked merchandise into totes or boxes on pallet jack
- Moving loaded pallets to the packing/shipping area
- Adhering to FIFO (first-in-first-out) inventory management
- Identifying and reporting any inventory issues or discrepancies
- Safely operating equipment like electric pallet jacks
- Meeting production standards (e.g. 150+ items picked per hour)
- Maintaining cleanliness and organization in fulfillment areas
It’s a very fast-paced role where you’ll be walking 15,000+ steps per day according to employee reports. Attention to detail is vital for success. Pickers who can multitask and maintain speed and accuracy are valued.
What Are Walmart Pickers Paid?
The average hourly wage for Walmart pickers is approximately $15 per hour based on current data from PayScale and Glassdoor. However, total compensation can range from $12 to $20 per hour based on factors like:
- Experience level
- Distribution center location
- Shift worked (nights/weekends often pay more)
- Performance and productivity
- Tenure with the company
Annual pay works out to $28,000-35,000 for full-time pickers. Those with previous warehouse experience or who excel in the role can earn towards the higher end.
Here’s a look at the average hourly pay reported for Walmart pickers by experience level:
|Average Hourly Pay
In addition to hourly wages, Walmart provides the following benefits:
- Employee stock purchase plan
- 401(k) retirement plan (company matches 15% of first 6% contributed)
- Store discount cards (10% off general merchandise, Fresh produce)
- Paid time off (PTO)
- 8 weeks maternity leave & 6 weeks paternity leave
- Adoption assistance
- Medical, dental, vision insurance plans
- Disability insurance
- Life insurance
- Access to training programs & tuition reimbursement
The combination of hourly pay, overtime, bonuses, and benefits makes Walmart picker compensation quite fair for a role that requires no higher education.
What Are the Requirements to Work as a Picker?
To get hired as a picker at Walmart, the most basic job requirements are:
- Minimum age of 18 years old
- Ability to pass background check and drug screening
- Ability to repeatedly lift up to 50 lbs and be on feet for 10+ hours
Walmart provides all the training you need to become an efficient picker, so no prior warehouse experience is required. That said, related experience never hurts!
Helpful qualifications that will boost your chances include:
- Prior experience in order picking or warehouse environments
- Knowledge of inventory management systems and scanners
- Experience safely operating lift equipment like pallet jacks
- Strong math, reading, and measuring skills
- Excellent verbal communication abilities
- Detail-oriented and organized
- Ability to walk 15,000+ steps per 10-hour shift
- High school diploma or GED preferred
As long as you have the stamina for the job and passion to learn, Walmart can provide the rest of the training.
Key Skills and Traits for Walmart Pickers
Picking at the speed and scale required by Walmart requires specialized skills. Here are some of the most important for success:
Physical stamina – Pickers walk 15+ miles and lift constantly during 10-12 hour shifts. Stamina to be on your feet and moving for hours is crucial.
Mental focus – You must maintain intense focus scanning labels and verifying orders for your whole shift. Losing focus can lead to costly errors.
Technical comfort – Pickers rely heavily on handheld RF scanners and warehouse management systems. Being tech-savvy helps significantly.
Multitasking abilities – You must scan, verify, count, lift, and analyze simultaneously. The ability to juggle multiple tasks is essential.
Communication – Communicating inventory issues or order discrepancies clearly to supervisors is key. Strong verbal skills create efficiency.
Reliability – Showing up daily and avoiding excessive absences matters in fulfillment. Pickers are the frontline of order processing.
Efficiency – Making the most of every second is crucial when picking hundreds of items per hour. Organization and time management optimize productivity.
Problem-solving – When inventory variances arise, pickers must think quickly to resolve issues while maintaining speed and accuracy.
Teamwork – Collaboration with co-workers ensures the highest order volumes are achieved. Cooperation is valued.
If you possess these traits, you’ll be well-positioned for success as a Walmart picker.
What Equipment Do Walmart Pickers Use?
To maximize productivity in the warehouse, pickers rely on specialized equipment and technology:
Handheld RF Scanners – Used to review order lists, scan item locations/UPCs, and process picks. The Zebra MC3330R is common.
Utility Vests – Contain barcode stickers, box cutters, pens, tape, and other frequently needed tools.
Pallet Jacks – Used to transport picked items. Electric versions can move 2,500+ lbs of merchandise.
Box Cutters – Used to safely open boxes to access items for picking.
Printers – Print package labels, shipping labels, picking documents as needed.
Reach Trucks – Also called order pickers, these move up and down warehouse racks to pick at height.
Forklifts – Used to replenish pick zones from upper warehouse levels.
Properly utilizing these tools maximizes efficiency and minimizes injury risk. Walmart provides training on all required equipment.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Being a Walmart Picker?
Potential advantages of being a Walmart picker include:
- Higher wages than many Walmart store roles
- Bonus opportunities for peak season workers
- Benefits like employee stock purchase plans
- Steady year-round work with minimal seasonal slowdowns
- Structured onboarding and continual skills training
- Exposure to retail fulfillment processes and technology
- Clearly defined duties and performance metrics
- Opportunity for overtime pay during busy periods
- Room for advancement into lead picker, trainer, or supervisor roles
However, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider:
- Very physically demanding job – expect to walk 15+ miles and lift constantly
- Can be monotonous and repetitive performing similar tasks all shift
- Fast-paced, high-pressure environment with productivity quotas
- Mandatory overtime during peak seasons like holidays
- Potential wrist/hand pain from prolonged scanner usage
- Early morning, evening, or overnight shift requirements
- Often noisy warehouse conditions
- Limited public interaction compared to store roles
Working as a picker at the world‘s largest retailer certainly isn‘t for everyone. But for those seeking stability, structured training, incentivized pay, and don‘t mind hard physical work, it can be quite a suitable option.
What Hours Do Walmart Pickers Work?
Most distribution centers run 24/7 operations to maximize fulfillment capacity. Therefore, pickers can choose from three main shifts:
First Shift – Daytime hours like 6:00am – 4:00pm
Second Shift – Afternoon to evening like 12:00pm – 10:00pm
Third Shift – Overnight like 8:00pm to 6:00am
Full-time pickers typically work four 10-hour shifts per week. Shifts often follow patterns like 2 on, 2 off, 3 on, 2 off to maximize coverage while allowing weekends.
It’s common to work mandatory overtime during peak seasons like back-to-school, holidays, and summer vacation months. Be prepared for extra hours or longer shifts during the busiest periods.
Part-time pickers may have more variability in schedules based on store volume needs. Overall, flexibility is key considering fulfillment centers run all day and night.
Is Becoming a Walmart Picker Right For You?
Based on everything you now know, take some time to reflect if pursuing a Walmart picking job aligns with your skills, interests, and lifestyle.
While the work is grueling, the pay fair, and training provided, it simply isn‘t a fit for everyone. Make an informed choice based on your career goals.
If you decide to apply, highlight any previous warehouse experience you have, be prepared to demonstrate stamina, focus, and resilience during the hiring process. With determination, it can be a rewarding career path for the right individual.
I hope you’ve found this detailed inside look at the reality of working as a Walmart order picker informative. Let me know if you have any other questions I can answer based on my retail commerce experience!