As the popularity of online grocery ordering continues to rise, Walmart has partnered with North Billerica, Mass.-based Alert Innovation to introduce Alphabot into the picking process as the retailer’s latest technological innovation.
The first-of-its-kind automation, developed for Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart, helps store pickers speed up the process of filling online grocery orders, It's being introduced in the mega-retailer's Salem, N.H., Superstore as part of the location's grand reopening. A 20,000-square-foot extension was built onto the store to house the technology and serves as a dedicated grocery pickup point with drive-thru lanes for customers.
Alphabot automated mobile carts work behind the scenes by picking products from the storage area and delivering them to one of four picking stations, where pickers then consolidate the items into customers’ orders. Pickers can spend less time walking the aisles for center store items and more time selecting customers’ fresh items like meat and produce.
The automation system is expected to be up and running by the end of the year. Meanwhile, shoppers at the Salem store can expect Walmart's regular grocery pickup service to start Oct. 1, with grocery delivery from the store to roll out in the next few months.