Walmart testing automated carts to speed up grocery orders

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FILE – This June 1, 2017, file photo, shows a Walmart sign at a store in Hialeah Gardens, Fla. Walmart says it will pay about $16 billion for a majority stake in India’s leading e-commerce company Flipkart, giving the world’s largest retailer a formidable presence in a fast-growing economy. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

(AP) – Walmart is testing automated carts that retrieve bins of groceries from storage as it tries to speed up the process of packaging online orders to send out or bringing to customers at their cars.

The company said Friday it’s working with Alert Innovation on the Alphabot, which it’s testing in Salem, New Hampshire. The mobile carts move up and down and sideways to retrieve items faster than if workers walked the aisles.

Workers will still handpick produce, meat and other fresh products, and assemble, pack and bring the order out to shoppers. Walmart says it’ll hire the usual number of workers at the test store.

Online grocery shopping is still a tiny part of the market, but customer convenience is increasingly crucial as chains try to catch up to Amazon.

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