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Walmart adding automated warehouses with robots to stores to help fulfill pickup, delivery orders

Walmart adding automated warehouses with robots to stores to help fulfill pickup, delivery orders

FINANCIAL NEWS

Walmart adding automated warehouses with robots to stores to help fulfill pickup, delivery orders

Kelly Tyko

| USA TODAY
Walmart unveils new store design with self-checkout kiosksWalmart says the new design will create a “seamless” omni shopping experience with more self-checkout kiosks and contactless payment options.USA TODAYRobots could help get your future Walmart pickup or delivery order filled and ready for you faster.Walmart announced Tuesday that it is increasing the number of its stores that will serve as local fulfillment centers, which are condensed modular automated warehouses built within a store or added to a store. The centers will house pantry items, frozen foods, consumables as well as electronics.Tom Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president of customer product, said the retail giant is planning dozens of locations with additional stores to come in the future. Some stores also will add automated pickup points that would allow customers and delivery drivers to drive up, scan a code and grab their order.Hot item returning to McDonald’s soon: McDonald’s bringing back Spicy Chicken McNuggets, Mighty Hot Sauce for a limited time starting Feb. 1Target removes product: Target drops Chaokoh coconut milk after PETA’s allegations of forced monkey labor, follows Costco“Amid the coronavirus pandemic, consumer demand for pickup and delivery options has grown and more retailers have added contactless curbside pickup.”Since the pandemic began we’ve steadily experienced record-high adoption of these services,” Ward said during a call with reporters. “We expect we will continue to serve more and more customers who will come to rely on pickup and delivery as an important part of their lives.”Walmart started testing its first local fulfillment center in Salem, New Hampshire in late 2019. Ward said one local fulfillment center can fulfill orders for many stores and the system adds to availability for customers since orders can be fulfilled faster.Instead of store associates walking the store to fulfill an order, the automated bots – that buzz around on wheels – retrieve the items from throughout the fulfillment center.Store employees still pick fresh items like produce, meat and seafood as well as large general merchandise items from the sales floor, Ward said.Walmart has broken ground on a few centers at stores in Plano and Lewisville, Texas; Bentonville, Arkansas; American Fork, Utah. A list of future stores getting the upgrade was not available. In late September, Walmart unveiled a reimagined store design that officials said will create a “seamless” omni shopping experience with more self-checkout kiosks and contactless payment options. The design is starting to roll out to stores. Walmart is also testing on-demand drone delivery.Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko


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