Walmart Inc., a multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets and grocery stores announced on Wednesday that it is planning to grow and expand its use of high-tech systems that enables customers to quickly pick and pack online grocery stores. The retail giant already did its research and anticipated that shopper’s demand for pickup and delivery will outlast even the pandemic.
If the plan goes as it is, dozens of Walmart will become fulfillment centers, with even some of the stores being turned into small, automated warehouses. For this to be accomplished, Walmart will use a store’s existing footprint or add to it. It is already out that there will be fulfillment centers in different parts of the country including in the Dallas area, Arkansas, and also the place Walmart is headquartered, that is, Bentonville.
The company has already begun its testing of one system called Alphabot at its Salem, New Hampshire store in 2019 and fortunately immediately saw the results. The system enables to pick up orders within minutes and have them ready for the customer just within an hour of placing the order.
With this success, as Walmart automates more and more stores, it will try out various configurations and experiment with several technology providers like Alert Innovation, Dematic, and Fabric. There is a mechanism in some stores where customers will be able to and delivery drivers can drive up, scan a code, and grab their order.
Walmart refused to comment as to how many stores will receive the technology or even say how much it will spend on the upgrades. For customers, Walmart’s expansion of these high-tech systems could ultimately mean they can snag a same-day delivery or pickup slot without much effort and also have those groceries ready faster.
The concept of automated fulfillment goes as it follows-
Instead of relying on store employees to get any item a customer wants, the local fulfillment centers will combine machinery and manpower. When orders will come in, robots will retrieve the items from chilled groceries to electronics and bring them to an employee at a picking station to help him assemble. Customers may even seek out online delivery for convenience.
During the pandemic, Walmart and other retailers have seen demand for online grocery delivery go up. Walmart’s growth in pickup and delivery peaked at 300% and its new customers for the services became 4 times in the early days of the health crisis. To answer, Walmart increased slot capacity by 40%.