Daily Management Review

Some US Stores Of Walmart Will Have Robots To Fill Online Orders


Some US Stores Of Walmart Will Have Robots To Fill Online Orders
With Americans shifting their spending habits to online mores during the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States based retailer Walmart Inc said that it will add small robot-staffed warehouses to a number of its stores in the US to fulfil orders for pickup and delivery.
The company said that the major task of the robots will be to carry out tasks that are mundane such as picking frozen and refrigerated foods as well as smaller general merchandise items and would be carrying them from the warehouses or the local fulfilment centers and will carry “thousands of frequently purchased items.”
While the robots work behind the scenes, the human employees will be tasked with sorting and picking up fetch fresh produce, meat, seafood and larger general merchandise items like large-screen TVs from the sales floor and then get back to the fulfilment centers to complete the assembling of orders, Walmart said.
No details of the number of stores of the company that will be equipped with the new robotic system was provided by the largest retailer of the world that gas almost 5,000 such stores in the United States apart from mentioning that the new system at the warehouses is being planned to be implemented in “dozens of locations, with many more to come.”
During the pandemic, consumers have become weary of contact and have opted to stay home and order products online which has resulted in booming of contactless services like curbside pickup and home delivery.
All of the major retailers of the United States including Target Corp and Best Buy, and Bentonville as well as the Arkansas-based Walmart have seen a record rise in the their online sales during the pandemic because of this new trend among American shoppers.
Walmart said that there was 300 per cent surge in the pick-up and delivery services at the company in its first quarter which coincided with the beginning of the pandemic  in the US while  there was a four times increase in the number of new customers purchasing from the company.
“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.
Ward said that in late 2019, trial runs of a similar automated technology was conducted by Walmart at a store in Salem, New Hampshire and found that it was possible to fulfil orders with this new technology in “just a few minutes”.  
This new move by the company also coincides with the planned stepping down of Walmart’s chief executive for U.S. e-commerce operations in the United States, Marc Lore, at the end of the month.
Services such as same-day delivery and store pick-up services were launched under the leadership of Lore. The company also launched the “Walmart Plus” membership program to rival the Amazon Prime program and to complete with the online retailer.