Walmart Inc will add little robot-staffed warehouses to many its stores to help fill orders for pickup and delivery, the organization said on Wednesday, as Americans move their spending online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The robots will work in the background, picking frozen and refrigerated food sources as well as more modest general merchandise items from inside the warehouses, or local fulfillment centers, that will convey “thousands of frequently purchased items.”
Store staff, in the interim, will go to the sales floor to get new produce, meat, fish and bigger general merchandise items like enormous screen TVs, at that point getting back to the focuses to complete the process of collecting orders, the organization said.
The world’s biggest retailer, which works almost 5,000 stores from one side of the country to the other, didn’t say the number of stores will have the new centers yet said it was “planning dozens of locations, with many more to come.”
Contactless services like curbside pickup and home delivery have boomed as virus wary customers have selected to remain at home and make buys online.
The trend has fueled record digital sales at significant retailers, for example, Target Corp and Best Buy, and Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart has been no exception.
In Q1, toward the beginning of the pandemic, pick-up and delivery services at Walmart flooded 300%, while the number of new clients hopped four-fold, the organization said.
“We don’t see the use of these services changing in the future — we expect that we’ll continue to serve more and more customers who have come to rely on pickup and delivery,” Tom Ward, SVP of Customer Product for Walmart U.S, told reporters on a conference call.
Walmart started testing comparative automated technology in late 2019 at a store in Salem, New Hampshire and found that orders can be filled in “just a few minutes,” Ward said.
The new move comes as Walmart’s CEO for U.S. e-commerce operations in the United States, Marc Lore, is because of step down toward the month’s end.
Under Lore’s watch, the enormous box retailer launched same-day delivery and store pick-up services, as well as an Amazon Prime rivaling membership program named “Walmart Plus” to take on the e-commerce in its own game.