In a major supply chain investment, Walmart has opened its first high-tech, in-store Market Fulfillment Center (MFC) in its home state of Arkansas.
Located at Store 100 in Bentonville, MFC is built within the store and is powered by a proprietary storage and retrieval system, Alphabot. The new fulfillment centers aim to significantly increase the number of orders the store is able to fulfill in a day, promising faster fulfillment with lower substitutions. Walmart+ members in the store’s range will have access to free unlimited delivery.
Developed specially for Walmart by startup Alert Innovation, Alphabot helps to enable quicker, more efficient order picking. The system uses autonomous carts to retrieve dry, refrigerated and frozen items ordered for online grocery. After it retrieves them, Alphabot delivers the products to a workstation, where a Walmart associate checks, bags and delivers the final order.
“We’re innovating toward an even better shopping experience every day, and on every platform,” said Prathibha Rajashekar, senior vice president of Innovation and Automation at Walmart. “To help our customers and associates live better, we’re using technology to help them save time. That leads to improved experiences for everyone, no matter how they shop – and moves our entire business forward in the process.”
Walmart says that the new fulfillment technology will improve in-store shopping experience by freeing up workers to assist customers. The retailer is also touting the Alphabot system as an opportunity for new leadership jobs in stores, like the newly created MFC Lead.
“This new order fulfillment system is truly game-changing,” said Ryan Simpson, the store manager at Store 100. “Not only does it enhance the customer experience through quicker, more accurate online order fulfillment, it also provides us the runway to continue growing our business now and in the future.”
The Arkansas MFC is the second nationwide, with the first being a proof of concept located at Store #2142 in Salem, New Hampshire. Walmart plans to continue opening MFCs in select stores in the coming years. Last month, Walmart said that by the end of Fiscal Year 2026, it estimates that roughly 65% of stores will be serviced by automation.