Walmart opens first market fulfillment center in Arkansas

The addition provides even faster fulfillment for online pickup and delivery customers while creating new opportunities for associates, the company said.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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Walmart has opened its first high-tech Market Fulfillment Center in Arkansas at Store 100, located at 406 S Walton Blvd in Bentonville, underlining the retailer’s strategic move toward expanding the use of its stores as fulfillment centers to enhance the shopping experience for customers everywhere.

The Market Fulfillment Center is built within the store and is powered by a proprietary storage and retrieval system named Alphabot. Walmart said it believes fulfillment through digitization and connecting its store and supply chain assets end to end will transform fulfillment, customer satisfaction and associate opportunity.

“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.”

[Read more: Walmart reports strong revenue growth in Q1, raises full-year guidance]

Walmart said that customers can expect to see the MFC's benefits almost immediately. MFCs will significantly increase the number of orders the store can fulfill daily, promising faster fulfillment with lower substitutions. Additionally, Walmart+ members have the option of free unlimited delivery. 

In addition to improving the customer and member experience, associates also will notice benefits from the new MFC, the company said.

Associates can expect more time to focus on what’s important, including serving customers and supporting each other. In addition, working with the Alphabot system presents new leadership jobs in stores, like the newly created MFC lead, and opportunities to learn and teach new tech-forward skills.

[Read more: Walmart appoints Latriece Watkins as U.S. chief merchandising officer]

“I feel confident that the items our associates are looking for are going to be there when a customer wants them. That makes me feel good, because I know our team is providing our customers with great service," said Gilbert Giron, an MFC digital team lead at Walmart.

“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.”

The leadership team at Store 100 celebrated the opening of the MFC with a donation of $15,000 distributed among Bentonville High School, Bentonville West High School and Bentonville Schools Ignite Professional Studies Program. 

The MFC in Bentonville, Ark., is the first in the state. It’s the second nationwide, with the first being a proof of concept located at Store #2142 in Salem, N.H. Walmart plans to continue opening MFCs in select stores in the coming years.