However, as COVID-19 lockdowns shifted sales online, Walmart found that workers collecting online deliveries from shelves could also gather inventory data. Now, Walmart plans to use those folks to monitor levels and locations, essentially making the robots redundant (and proving that turnabout is fair play). On top of that, CEO John Furner was concerned about how shoppers might react and interact with robots in stores.
Robots still have their place in stores with Roomba-like floor scrubbers, for example. And while the inventory robots didn’t work out, the company said the experiment was still worthwhile. “We learned a lot about how technology can assist associates, make jobs easier and provide a better customer experience,” a spokesperson told the WSJ.