On Wednesday, Walmart announced its plans to build miniature warehouses in or beside dozens of stores. These fulfillment centers will be equipped with robots that gather pantry and frozen food items and staffed by associates who assemble specific customer orders. This approach is designed to speed up order assembly and free up aisles for in-store shoppers. Until now, Walmart associates assembled orders in the aisles. The retailer believes that by isolating and consolidating the site of fulfillment, the process will be faster and more efficient, perhaps allowing for some very impressive order fulfillment times.
Tom Ward, Walmart's US senior vice president of customer product, said on a call with reporters Tuesday that the centers would enable Walmart to fulfill curbside pickups and home deliveries within an hour.