Walmart, the world's largest retailer, is consistently at the forefront of the latest in shopping technology. And while the company recently announced that they'd be delivering groceries via drone in the near future, another technological advancement has proven less successful. After trying them out in stores over the last three years, Walmart has abandoned plans to have robot staff working the aisles at its stores. Read on for the details on what went wrong, and for more on when you shouldn't do your weekly shopping trip, read up on the This Is the Absolute Worst Time to Shop at Walmart, Employees Say.
While it sounds far-fetched and futuristic, like something out of The Jetsons, the planned employment of robots had begun to be rolled out in 500 stores, where they scanned the shelves and automatically checked stock levels. A promotional video from Bossa Nova Robotics, which developed the technology, showed the Walmart robots also having the functionality to check prices and find misplaced items. The six-foot tall robotic operatives, which were first introduced to stores in 2017, looked somewhat like a home dehumidifier with a periscope attachment on top. Now, however, the partnership with Bossa Nova Robotics has ended, The Wall Street Journal was the first to report.
The idea was that by using these robotic helpers, the retail giant could reduce labor costs while managing inventory more effectively and thus reducing waste and increasing sales. However, this week, The WSJ reported that as more people began shopping online during the ongoing pandemic, Walmart found it had a surplus of human staff who could perform the same checks and tasks as the robots, but perform them quicker. The WSJ also reported that Walmart's U.S. Chief Executive John Furner had worries about what customers would think seeing robots in the company's stores.
"We learned a lot about how technology can assist associates, make jobs easier and provide a better customer experience," a Walmart spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal. "We will continue testing new technologies and investing in our own processes and apps to best understand and track our inventory and help move products to our shelves as quickly as we can."
This isn't the end for robotics completely at Walmart, however. Other smart devices for floor cleaning and stock unloading are still in place.
The news comes at a bumper time for the retailer—online sales nearly doubled in the second quarter of this year, while sales at physical stores that opened last year have jumped 9.3 percent. Walmart also recently announced they're hiring of 20,000 seasonal workers at e-commerce fulfillment centers. And for more on this superstore, check out Walmart Is Bringing Back the One Thing Customers Have Missed Most.
Read the original article on Best Life.