Walmart opened a new “high tech” fulfillment center at one of its stores, highlighting how the brick-and-mortar retailer differentiates itself from online-only marketplaces. Walmart Market Fulfillment Centers (MFC) are “modular warehouses built within, or added to, a store.”
The new MFC is located at one of its stores in Arkansas and features a high-tech storage and retrieval system named “Alphabot.” The Alphabot system provides quicker and more accurate online order fulfillment, significantly increasing the number of orders a store is able to fulfill in a day, according to the company, also giving associates more time to focus on serving customers and supporting each other.
“We’re innovating toward an even better shopping experience every day, and on every platform,” said Prathibha Rajashekar, senior vice president of Innovation and Automation at Walmart. “To help our customers and associates live better, we’re using technology to help them save time. That leads to improved experiences for everyone, no matter how they shop – and moves our entire business forward in the process.”
Walmart has an existing network of ecommerce fulfillment centers independent of stores as described last year when it explained it used its “31 dedicated eCommerce fulfillment centers and 4,700 stores located within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population to fulfill online orders at exceptional speed.”
The new Arkansas Market Fulfillment Center is only the second Walmart has opened. It began piloting its first Market Fulfillment Center in New Hampshire in late 2019.
Walmart plans to continue opening MFCs in select stores in the coming years, it said in Monday’s press release.