Online grocery sales are in full swing as a result of the ongoing pandemic and the onslaught of winter. Walmart is meeting demand with its own army of bots aimed to speed up online orders and level up to the likes of Amazon.
The company is dedicating dozens of small warehouses within or next to existing stores to further streamline its online grocery delivery services. Inside the warehouses, wheeled robots will take care of quick tasks such as retrieving items from shelves and taking them to work stations for delivery assembly. Though it’s not the company’s first foray into robots, it does reflect a more tangible take on tech. Walmart’s shift into the leading Genius brand in this year’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box echoes the increasing importance of major brick-and-mortar players using their stores as assets—as fulfillment centers for local delivery or same-day curbside pickup hubs. In fact, Walmart’s e-commerce sales grew 97% in the period ending July 2020, in large part driven by the retailer’s focus on expanding omnichannel services like curbside pickup. All brick-and-mortar retailers in Gartner’s Genius and Gifted class offer either in-store pickup or curbside pickup options.
As such, traditional brick and mortar doesn’t have to be the end-all, be-all. Instead, it can serve as a springboard for further expansion into tech.