Walmart has announced that its automated system called Alphabot is now fully operational and working with associates in its store in Salem, New Hampshire.
With its new technology, Walmart aims to revolutionise the online grocery pickup and delivery process for associates and customers.
The retailer initially announced the pilot of its Alphabot in mid-2019. Now fully operationally, Walmart will assess its technology further for a broader roll-out across its stores.
Developed by start-up Alert Innovation, Alphabot enables quicker, more efficient order picking. By increasing fulfilment speeds, Walmart says its technology can create more convenience for customers, allowing them to place orders closer to pick up time and reducing wait time.
The ‘first-of-its-kind’ automation operates inside a 20,000 square-foot facility attached to a Walmart store, using autonomous carts to retrieve refrigerated and frozen items ordered for online grocery. Alphabot will then deliver the products to a workstation, where a Walmart associate will check, bag and deliver the final order.
Brian Roth, senior manager of pickup automation and digital operations at Walmart US, said: “By assembling and delivering orders to associates, Alphabot is streamlining the order process, allowing associates to do their jobs with greater speed and efficiency.
“Ultimately, this will lower dispense times, increase accuracy and improve the entirety of online grocery. And it will help free associates to focus on service and selling, while the technology handles the more mundane, repeatable tasks.”
According to Walmart, adoption of this new system across stores can lead to a more seamless grocery pickup and delivery experience, making substitutions easier to anticipate and fill.
Roff added: “We never want to be in a position to tell an online grocery customer they can’t have an item.
“We’ll be able to look at datasets and fairly say ‘these two brands of pasta are typically bought together,’ or ‘here’s an item a consumer buys often,’ and use that information to make more informed substitutions.”
According to Seeking Alpha, Walmart is also adding shelf-scanning robots to 650 more US stores by the end of the Summer.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020