Walmart Opens Second In-Store Market Fulfillment Center
Walmart opened a high-tech market fulfillment center in its hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas on Monday, underlining its strategic move toward expanding the use of its stores as fulfillment centers. Located inside Store 100, the center is powered by a proprietary storage and retrieval system named Alphabot. According to Walmart, the new market fulfillment centers will “significantly increase” the number of online pickup and delivery orders the store is able to fulfill in a day, promising faster fulfillment with lower substitutions. Walmart+ members will receive free unlimited delivery from the store. The market fulfillment center is the retailer's second nationwide, with the first being a proof of concept located in Salem, N.H.
Total Retail's Take: Walmart is laying the groundwork to lean into the biggest competitive advantage that it holds over its chief rival, Amazon.com: its extensive brick-and-mortar store footprint. And more specifically, the ability to offer customers convenient omnichannel experiences within those stores. Retailers are now competing on customer experience as much as they are on price and product quality, leading them to introduce convenient and time-saving shopping options. This latest opening of a high-tech market fulfillment center from Walmart figures to be far from its last.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.