Walmart, which is working to leverage its brick-and-mortar stores to fulfill online orders, announced on Wednesday it is scaling the number of stores that also serve as “local fulfillment centers.”
“A local fulfillment center (LFC) is a compact, modular warehouse built within, or added to, a store,” the retailer explained. “We’re already planning dozens of locations, with many more to come.”
LFCs fulfill in-demand products including fresh and frozen items, consumables, and electronics – and they also serve as pick-up locations for those customers who prefer that option, and it’s adding automated pickup points. (Customers and delivery drivers can “drive up, scan a code, grab their order and go.”)
One local fulfillment center can fulfill orders for many stores, which means its benefits can be felt by customers in stores nearby, Walmart said.
The retailer also revealed it’s using technology partners, including Alert Innovation, Dematic and Fabric. “With these partners, we’ll be testing different orientations and add-on innovations to understand what works best in different environments. For example, in some locations, we’ll be adding on to our stores. In others, the fulfillment centers will sit inside the existing store footprint.”
Walmart began piloting its first local fulfillment center in Salem, New Hampshire, in late 2019. It called the technology of LFCs impressive and said they offer greater availability, faster fulfillment, and greater efficiency.
You can find the full announcement on the Walmart corporate website.