Burbank – Walmart recently expanded its test of new AI shelf-scanning technology to four stores in Southern California, including the superstore on Kelly Johnson Parkway in Valencia.
This cutting-edge technology handles tedious tasks that are repeatable and predictable – like scanning shelves for out-of-stocks – giving associates the data and time they need to better serve today’s customers.
The automated units, produced by California-based Bossa Nova Robotics, uses AI and machine learning to help identify where in-stock levels are low, prices are wrong or labels are missing.
The robot can scan dozens of aisles in under an hour. Because of that speed, it allows associates to identify in-stock levels multiple times per day, providing near real-time views of what areas of the store need the most attention and freeing up associates to focus on serving customers.
“Our associates see the opportunity for this technology to focus on tasks that are repeatable, predictable and manual – freeing up their time to focus on selling merchandise and serving customers, which they tell us have always been the most exciting parts of working in retail,” said Panthi Patel, Walmart store manager in Burbank. “Our approach is unique: we see technology as a tremendous opportunity to empower our people because we know how vital the human touch is to delivering for our customers.”
Store associates have become strong advocates for the technology, which empowers them to work smarter and increases their productivity. This combination of people and technology helps make the stores more convenient and easier to shop, helping make the products customers want available at the right time, creating a less stressful and more effective customer experience.
“Walmart understands that customer habits and shopping expectations are changing at an incredibly fast pace and to meet the rapidly changing demands of their customers, they are embracing technology to better allow their associates to serve their customers,” said Martin Hitch, Bossa Nova chief business officer. “We are excited to learn from associates and store managers as we work with Walmart to deploy our technology.”
Based on the results of the initial tests, Walmart has expanded the use of the technology to 50 locations in the U.S., including the ones in Southern California. This will allow the company to further test the tool in a variety of store formats. Future expansion of the technology will be determined by feedback from Walmart associates and customers.
In October 2017, Walmart announced it was investing around $11 billion in 2017 and 2018 in the U.S. in store growth, store remodels and other innovations such as Pickup Towers, Online Grocery Pickup, Scan & Go and more.
The following local Walmart Supercenters are now utilizing the new shelf-scanning technology:
* Santa Clarita: 27931 Kelly Johnson Pkwy;
* Palmdale: 40130 10th St. W;
* Lancaster: 1731 E Ave J;
* Burbank: 1301 N Victory Place.