Wal­mart test­ing au­to­mated carts to speed up gro­cery or­ders

The Western Star - - BUSINESS -

NEW YORK - Wal­mart is test­ing au­to­mated carts that re­trieve bins of gro­ceries from stor­age as it tries to speed up the process of pack­ag­ing on­line or­ders to send out or bring­ing to cus­tomers at their cars.

The com­pany said Fri­day it’s work­ing with Alert In­no­va­tion on the Al­phabot, which it’s test­ing in Salem, New Hamp­shire. The mo­bile carts move up and down and side­ways to re­trieve items faster than if work­ers walked the aisles. Work­ers will still hand­pick pro­duce, meat and other fresh prod­ucts, and as­sem­ble, pack and bring the or­der out to shop­pers. Wal­mart says it’ll hire the usual num­ber of work­ers at the test store. On­line gro­cery shop­ping is still a tiny part of the mar­ket, but cus­tomer con­ve­nience is in­creas­ingly cru­cial as chains try to catch up to Ama­zon.

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