Walmart is putting even more robots in its stores

This Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, photo shows corporate signage at a Walmart in Kissimmee, Fla. Walmart is testing a service that lets a delivery person walk into a customer's home when they're not there to drop off packages or put groceries in the fridge. The retailer says the service is for busy families who don't have time to stop at a store. (AP Photo/Swayne B. Hall)

(CNN)– More robots may be coming to a Walmart near you.

For the past three years, the company has been testing shelf-scanning robots in some stores in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and California. The machines, which move up and down aisles, look for out-of-stock items and products that are mislabeled or incorrectly priced. They then flag these issues to store workers.

On Thursday, Walmart (WMT) said it will expand the test to 50 stores. The bots are set to arrive in places like El Paso, Jacksonville and Fort Worth by the end of January.

The company has been careful to pitch the robots as machinery to help staffers, not replace them.

“We will always need great people in our stores working hard for our customers. This technology is a tool that helps our associates know where they can make the biggest difference for our customers,” Walmart spokesman Justin Rushing told CNNMoney.

Still, the move seems to be a harbinger of the retail world to come. With Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) cutting into foot traffic at brick-and-mortar stores, many companies are opting to cut jobs. Automation could speed up that process.

The good news for Walmart employees is that the company has had a strong 2017, bolstered by investments in its own online operation. Walmart is betting big that it can compete with Amazon with a string of takeovers, from its purchase of online marketplace to its acquisition of Parcel, a 24-hour delivery service in New York City.

The company is also experimenting with new technology in the delivery space. Last week, Walmart announced that it’s testing a straight-to-your-fridge delivery service — which customers can monitor via their phones using in-house cameras.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s