Walmart aims to have 65% of its stores serviced by automation by 2026, reducing the need for lower-paying roles.
- Walmart currently operates more than 5,000 retail stores across the U.S.
- The company is rapidly growing its e-commerce business and is investing heavily in automation to help speed up order processing at e-commerce fulfillment facilities.
- About 55% of packages that it processes through its fulfillment centers will be moved through automated facilities by January 2026, improving unit cost averages by about 20%, according to the company.
Why it’s news
Many companies are beginning to rely on automation to complete tasks faster and more efficiently while reducing the need for lower-paying roles, including retail giant Walmart, which recently announced its big plan for automation.
Walmart has begun to grow its e-commerce business rapidly and is planning to equip its distribution systems with more robotic and software capabilities to save money and create a work environment with “roles that require less physical labor but have a higher rate of pay.”
The company aims to have 65% of its stores serviced by automation by 2026, improving unit cost averages by about 20%. It has already begun investing in automation by buying grocery robotics company Alert Innovation and partnering with companies such as Knapp to help cut the number of steps it takes for employees to process e-commerce orders down to five from 12, according to Reuters.
Walmart has not said how this move to automation will affect current employees but said the move will allow the company to rely less on lower-paying roles. It currently employs around 1.7 million U.S. workers and another 60,000 worldwide.
“As the changes are implemented across the business, one of the outcomes is roles that require less physical labor but have a higher rate of pay,” Walmart says in a release. “Over time, the company anticipates increased throughput per person due to the automation while maintaining or even increasing its number of associates as new roles are created,” it adds.
It is unsure whether the lower-paying jobs the company is easing reliance on will be placed elsewhere due to the new automation additions or if they will be cut entirely.
Other Walmart news
As Walmart continues to grow its e-commerce business, it recently released a new version of its app and website that will give customers a “product-focused experience.”
The newly updated website includes live videos and professional, clean photos of products. The layout and focus of the web page are similar to that of Walmart’s leading competitor—Amazon.
Walmart is attempting to compete with the retail market that Amazon dominates, and the redesign is the latest step in the company’s plan to do so.
Along with the new design and better photos, the app also divides products into suggested categories, such as “fun decor under $20” and “spring for Easter must-haves,” Insider reports.
The company is also pushing for healthier employee commutes. The company aims to have 10% of the retailer’s workforce at its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, commute by bike or any way other than riding alone by 2025.
Walmart has set a goal of getting 10% of its workforce at its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, to commute to work by bike or in any way other than riding alone by 2025.
To count toward the 10%, an employee must use alternative travel modes two or three times a week for a year.
Currently, fewer than 1% of Bentonville’s employees meet the company’s goals, according to Walmart. To reach the goal, Walmart has partnered with People For Bikes, which works with businesses to expand bike infrastructure and educate residents on biking, and has hired a director of workplace mobility to oversee the transition.