Walmart Opens Second Automated Market Fulfillment Center

Walmart has opened its second Market Fulfillment Center (MFC) powered by a proprietary storage and retrieval system.

The new MFC opened in Bentonville, Arkansas, on Monday (May 22) following a proof-of-concept that was launched in Salem, New Hampshire, in January 2020, Walmart said in a Monday press release.

Both MFCs are powered by Alphabot, a system that uses autonomous carts to retrieve items ordered for online grocery and delivers them to a workstation, where a Walmart associate checks, bags and delivers the order, according to the press release.

“This new order fulfillment system is truly game changing,” Ryan Simpson, store manager at the Bentonville location, said in the release. “Not only does it enhance the customer experience through quicker, more accurate online order fulfillment, it also provides us the runway to continue growing our business now and in the future.”

The first MFC powered by Alphabot that was launched in Salem was meant to pilot the technology and analyze it for improvements before launching it nationwide.

Walmart said at the time that automated grocery systems like Alphabot can pick and pack orders 10 times faster than a person, which could increase order capacity as demand grows for online grocery services.

The MFCs are built within existing stores, enhancing the ability of the locations to be used as fulfillment centers, according to the Monday press release.

The technology significantly increases the number of orders the store can fulfill in a day, frees up associates to help customers who are shopping in-store, creates new leadership jobs in stores and presents new opportunities to learn tech skills, the release said.

“To help our customers and associates live better, we’re using technology to help them save time,” Prathibha Rajashekhar, senior vice president of innovation and automation at Walmart, said in the release. “That leads to improve experiences for everyone, no matter how they shop — and moves our entire business forward in the process.”

The lines are blurring between physical and online commerceCymbio CEO Roy Avidor told PYMNTS Karen Webster in an interview posted in March 2022.

“Brands that increase their digital presence while embracing automation have the ways and means to meet customers where they want to be met,” Avidor said.