Walmart opened its first high-tech Market Fulfillment Center (MFC) in Arkansas at Store 100 in Bentonville, underlining the retailer’s strategic move to expand using its stores as fulfillment centers to enhance the shopping experience.
The MFC is built within the store and powered by a proprietary storage and retrieval system—Alphabot. Walmart believes fulfillment through digitization and connecting its store and supply chain assets end to end will “transform” fulfillment, customer satisfaction and employee opportunity.
“This new order fulfillment system is truly game-changing,” said Ryan Simpson, the store manager at Store 100. “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.”
MFCs are expected to “significantly increase” the number of orders the Walmart store can fulfill daily, promising faster fulfillment with lower substitutions. Walmart+ members receive free unlimited delivery and intended to free up employees to help customers shop in-store.
For employees working with the Alphabot system, it presents new leadership jobs in stores, including the newly-created MFC Lead, and opportunities to learn and teach tech-forward skills.
“We’re innovating toward an even better shopping experience every day and on every platform,” said Prathibha Rajashekar, senior vice president of Innovation and Automation at Walmart. “To help our customers and associates live better, we’re using technology to help them save time. That leads to improved experiences for everyone, no matter how they shop and moves our entire business forward in the process.”
The market fulfillment center in Bentonville, AR is the first in the state, and the second nationwide, with the first being a proof of concept located at Store #2142 in Salem, NH. Walmart plans to continue opening MFCs in select stores in the coming years.
Photo courtesy Walmart