On Aug. 3, Walmart announced a pilot project called ‘Alphabot’ with start-up Alert Innovation that will use automation to help its associates fill online grocery orders. The collaboration will increase the speed and efficiency of the process.
Walmart’s online grocery service allows customers to order groceries online, select a pickup time and have groceries delivered to their car. “Alphabot will work behind the scenes to make the process easier by automatically bringing items from storage to associates who will consolidate items in the order. For our pickup associates, that means less time walking store aisles in search of products and more time ensuring customers are getting the absolute best in fresh produce, meats,” the company said in a blog post.
Specially developed for Walmart, the Alphabot system will is being installed at its supercenter in Salem, New Hampshire. A 20,000-square-foot extension connected to the store houses the new system and will serve as a dedicated grocery pickup point with drive-thru lanes for customers. When completed, automated mobile carts will retrieve ordered items – stored warehouse-style in this new space – then deliver them to our associates at one of four pick stations. “Our personal shoppers will then pick, assemble and deliver orders to customers. The vast majority of grocery products we offer in-store will be fulfilled through this system, though our personal shoppers will still handpick produce and other fresh items,” the company said in a statement.
Walmart plans to have Alphabot online and running by the end of 2018.