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Walmart expands automated micro warehouses to expand online grocery

Instead of an associate walking the store to fulfill an order from our shelves, automated bots retrieve the items from within the fulfillment center. (Photo: Walmart)

Bentonville, AR-based Walmart Stores Inc. plans to expand the use of microfulfillment centers added to stores to help clear sales floor congestion and speed online grocery.

In a January 27 blog post, Tom Ward, senior vice president of customer product, said Walmart is leveraging its massive network of stores for more efficient pickup and delivery of orders.

“Instead of an associate walking the store to fulfill an order from our shelves, automated bots retrieve the items from within the fulfillment center,” Ward said, in the post. “The items are then brought to a picking workstation, where the order can be assembled with speed.”

The company isn’t taking humans entirely out of the process, particularly for items like fresh produce.

“We’ve always said personal shoppers are the secret to our pickup and delivery success, and that remains true,” Ward said. “So, while the system retrieves the order for assembly, a personal shopper handpicks fresh items like produce, meat and seafood, and large general merchandise from the sales floor.”

Read the full post here.

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.