Centers can also reduce traffic in store corridors as they will limit the number of Walmart employees gathered directly from the store floor to fulfill online orders. Crowded lanes are a growing problem for stores as online shopping booms, and retail analysts have said that these automated fulfillment centers help solve this challenge.
Walmart’s plan comes in the form of an online ordering surge in the epidemic. Walmart’s online sales, including pickup and delivery, climbed 79% during the three months ended October 31, compared to the same period last year. Pre-quarter, online sales grew 97% from a year earlier.
The company hopes that by adding these new supply centers, stores will be able to handle more orders and produce them at a faster pace.
Tom Ward, America’s senior vice president of customer product at Walmart, said on a call with reporters Tuesday that the centers would enable Walmart to complete curbside pickup and home delivery within an hour.
Walmart is not the only large grocery chain that uses these small fulfillment centers in these stores. Albertsons and Stop & Shop are also testing them in their own stores.