Retailing giant Walmart’s high tech robot, Alphabot, is being tested in its warehouse at Salem, New Hampshire. The company said that the technology aims to revolutionise its online grocery pickup and delivery process.
Startup company Alert Innovation created Alphabot exclusively for Walmart. It allows the company to have a faster and more efficient order picking. The robot is currently on pilot trial inside Walmart’s 20,000-square-foot warehouse-style space by using autonomous carts to get refrigerated and frozen items ordered for online grocery. Alphabot delivers the products to a workstation where a Walmart associate can check, put the products in a bag and delivers the final order.
“By assembling and delivering orders to associates, Alphabot is streamlining the order process, allowing associates to do their jobs with greater speed and efficiency. Ultimately, this will lower dispense times, increase accuracy and improve the entirety of online grocery. And it will help free associates to focus on service and selling, while the technology handles the more mundane, repeatable tasks,” Brian Roth, senior manager of pickup automation and digital operations for Walmart US, said.
Roth added that it will have “transformative impact” to the retailer’s supply chain. He sees the Alphabot as a “micro-fulfillment” which merges e-commerce and brick and mortar methods. Walmart’s staff can focus more on helping customers.
“We never want to be in a position to tell an online grocery customer they can’t have an item. We’ll be able to look at datasets and fairly say ‘these two brands of pasta are typically bought together,’ or ‘here’s an item a consumer buys often,’ and use that information to make more informed substitutions,” Roth said.
Alphabot has been operating at Walmart’s pilot location in Salem since mid-2019. The retailer said it will continue to test Alphabot until the process is perfected.