Walmart is testing a new robot that scans shelves for out-of-stocks, incorrect prices, and incorrect or even missing labels in a limited number of stores.
The new shelf-scanning technology is meant to free up floor level associates’ time to focus much more on doing what machines usually can’t do and also humans: better serve clients and promote merchandise. Stores presently test the technology are in Arkansas, California, and Pennsylvania.
Based on the first tests, Walmart plans to develop the robots to its 50 more stores. As with anything released to retailers, associate and buyer feedback will guide where and how the mega-retailer will make use of the technology down the line.
“This blend of people and technology is helping make our stores more convenient and much easier to shop, making sure that items are available when our clients want them,” the Bentonville, Ark. based company.
Jeremy King, chief technologies officer for Walmart U.S. and e-commerce, stated that the robots are 50% more effective compared to their human counterparts and could browse shelves significantly more effectively and 3 times faster. Store workers usually check shelves twice a week. Despite their greater efficiency, the robots will not replace workers or even affect employee headcounts in shops.
The concept is similar to other robots presently being tested by grocers in different markets. Minneapolis-based Target Corp. originally announced its initiative to evaluate Simbe Robotics’ shelf-scanning robot, called Tally, in shops last year. Moreover, Midwestern grocer Schnuck Markets, based around St. Louis, not too long ago disclosed its incorporation of Tally at a number of places, while Carlisle, Pa-based Ahold USA, at a great Food Stores area, simply started testing Marty, an automatic robot with exactly the same objective which even detects floor hazards and sports a pair of clear plastic googly eyes to really make it much more customer-friendly.
The robots mark the latest initiative by Walmart to increase automation in its store. Among them is the rising number of retailers with self-service “Pickup Towers,” from which buyers are able to get orders online; the development of Scan & Go checkout-free technology that places “the checkout activity in the hands and wrists of the user”; and the roll-out of its Express Lane to digitize cash and pharmacy services across stores nationwide.