Walmart’s “customer hosts” will still greet customers but have additional and physically demanding responsibilities, which means eliminating greeters.
Walmart is planning to use thousands of robots for a wide variety of tasks within its stores following a “well-received” round of tests in 2018.
“Smart assistants have huge potential to make busy stores run more smoothly,” the nation’s largest private employer said in a news release.
Walmart, which employs 1.5 million associates in the U.S. alone, said in the release Tuesday that the plans will give employees “more of an opportunity to do what they’re uniquely qualified for” which is serve customers face-to-face on the sales floor.
Walmart isn’t the only retailer that has robots roaming around.
Home Depot customers can type an item into the store app and call up a map that leads them to where they can find the light fixture or cabinet they need. Shoppers at some stores and malls can also get the information they need from a robot named “Pepper.” And the Mall of America has enlisted a hologram named Ellie the Elf as a virtual greeter.
Also, Amazon has thousands of robots operating in its warehouses throughout the country.
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Here’s a list of tasks the Walmart robots will perform
After testing out robot janitors in some stores in 2018, Walmart is expanding its use of autonomous robot mops. The company is employing a fleet of 1,500 autonomous floor cleaners which it calls “Auto-C.”
The company says that the robot cleans floors better than humans.
“After an associate preps the area, this machine can be programmed to travel throughout the open parts of the store, leaving behind a clean, polished floor,” Walmart said.
This technology scans the products on the shelves to make sure that everything is in its proper place and priced accurately. Walmart is adding 300 new shelf scanners, dubbed “Auto-S”, to its stores.
Over a thousand robots called “FAST Unloaders” will automatically scan and sort products once they’re unloaded from trucks. Walmart says that this allows associates to move inventory from the back room to the sales floor more quickly.
The robots will work with the shelf scanner to make sure that the sorted items end up in the right department, Walmart says.
Hand off orders
Walmart it adding 900 new Pickup Towers for customers who place orders online. After you place an order online, a sales associate will place the item into these giant vending machines and you’ll get an email saying that it’s ready. When you drop by the store, you chose and you can receive your order from the machine.
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