Walmart is looking to remove all cashiers and standard conveyor belt lines from its stores and is testing a pilot in one of its superstores in Fayetteville, Arkansas in the short term.
Fox News reports, the retailer is removing cashiers and standard conveyor belt lines at one of its popular superstores in Fayetteville, Arkansas as a pilot.
A spokesperson for the company told FOX Business that Walmart Supercenter Store #359 is removing its conveyor belt lanes and replacing them with self-checkout counters.
In the long term, Walmart stated the test was an attempt to see if checkout times are faster while limiting human interaction in the age of the pandemic.
Walmart employees will still be available to help those customers who have trouble doing checkout themselves including baggers.
Depending on the success of the test run, Walmart could expand the program to more stores according to the report.
The news comes weeks after America’s largest retailer announced it would be streamlining the company’s apps to allow customers to shop online for everything from groceries to apparel and electronics.
The company also launched its touch-free payment system, Walmart Pay, last month in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus while customers shop in-store.
Walmart Pay touch-free payment is easier than ever. Download our app today, register for Walmart Pay, and head to the store with peace of mind. Plus, earn 5% back when you use your Capital One Walmart Rewards Card with Walmart Pay for the first 12 months after approval. pic.twitter.com/hS7YrwS54T
— Walmart (@Walmart) May 13, 2020
CNN reports that grocers – big and small chains alike – are turning to robots for performing various tasks like cleaning floors, stocking shelves, and delivering groceries to shoppers. The CV crisis could even prompt online retail warehouses like Amazon to invest more into automation technology as well.
The New York Times reported that the outbreak is boosting demand for Zhen Robotics and its RoboPony, a self-driving cart that is sold to retailers, hospitals, malls, and apartment complexes.
A recent report by A3, Association For Advancing Automation, further details all the ways that artificial intelligence and automation is being used in different industries to combat CV. Oxford Economics also published its own report warning that accelerating technological advances in automation, engineering, energy storage, artificial intelligence, and machine learning have the potential to reshape the world in 2020 through 2030s, displacing at least 20 million workers.
With CV as a catalyst to speed up the deployment of automated machines, we can probably safely say that number will be much more severe. It seems I am not the only one to share that opinion; a recent MarketWatch article written by Johannes Moenius, a professor of global business and the director of the Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis at the University of Redlands, agrees with this author’s conclusion stating “at least 50 million jobs could be automated in just essential industries.”
In fact, the Brookings Institution said in a report last month that “any CV-related recession is likely to bring about a spike in labor-replacing automation … Automation happens in bursts, concentrated especially in bad times such as in the wake of economic shocks, when humans become relatively more expensive as firms’ revenues rapidly decline.”
Walmart didn’t comment on why it was running the pilot and removing conveyor line workers and cashiers from its superstore or why it has potential plans to remove all cashiers.