Walmart has partnered with startup Alert Innovation to test an automation technology called Alphabot to help fulfill grocery pickup orders.
The retailer plans to use the system with most items, but employees will continue to hand-pick produce and other fresh products, according to a news release.
“Alphabot will work behind the scenes to make the process even easier by automatically bringing items from storage to associates who will consolidate the items in the order,” Mark Ibbotson, executive vice president of central operations for Walmart U.S., said in the release. “For our pickup associates, that means less time walking the store aisles in search of products and more time ensuring customers are getting the absolute best in fresh produce, meats, etc.”
The system is being installed in a 20,000 extension to the supercenter in Salem, N.H. It is expected to be running by the end of the year.
“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,” Ibbotson said in the release. “Our personal shoppers will then pick, assemble and deliver orders to customers.”