- U.K. grocery chain Asda has selected Walmart’s Store Assist, the retailer’s fulfillment-as-a-service (FaaS) app, to help make the in-store picking process more efficient for its workers, Walmart Commerce Technologies announced last week.
- Asda will bring Store Assist to more than 330 of its superstores across the U.K.
- The announcement comes at a time when Walmart is bolstering its presence as a technology vendor.
Asda’s choice of Walmart’s in-store picking technology is not surprising given the U.K. grocery chain’s ties with the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer.
After owning Asda for two decades, Walmart sold the U.K. grocery company to the Issa brothers, founders and co-CEOs of EG Group, and private equity firm TDR Capital LLP for £6.8 billion in early 2021. The deal allowed Walmart to retain an ongoing commercial relationship and a seat on Asda’s board of directors.
“By leveraging Store Assist, Asda can increase efficiency, picking accuracy and speed while reducing logistical overheads,” the announcement said.
Store Assist provides workers and managers with several tools for omnichannel fulfillment, including auto-generated picking queues and optimized pick paths. Dashboards provide “actionable insights,” Walmart noted in the post. The app is built on the same fulfillment technology that Walmart has used in its stores for the last decade, according to Walmart, which noted that workers’ feedback is “continuously” incorporated into technology enhancements.
Store Assist is one of the white-label technology solutions offered by Walmart Commerce Technologies, the retailer giant’s new enterprise tech arm. The creation of Walmart Commerce Technologies came a few months after Walmart unveiled it would provide its e-commerce technology to customers of Adobe Commerce, now called Magento, Insider noted.
From its white-label delivery service, Walmart GoLocal, to its retail media arm, Walmart Connect, Walmart is building out new revenue streams that involve selling its proprietary technology and services to other retailers.
Walmart U.S. President and CEO John Furner noted during a Groceryshop keynote in September that the company has pinpointed services that can “help everyone else win in a very innovative way.”
Walmart’s ability to offer Store Assist coupled with its GoLocal delivery service, its very recent agreement to buy micro-fulfillment center maker Alert Innovation and its extensive store operations expertise could set it up as a big competitor to Instacart as it seeks to provide more retailer enablement services, Anne Mezzenga, a Target veteran and co-CEO of retail blog Omni Talk, said during an Omni Talk episode.
“The only thing I can think of that may make some other retailers hesitant is — the same thing you’re seeing with retailers [with] Amazon offering the same thing — ‘Will there be reluctance from retailers to let Walmart into their walled gardens?’” Mezzenga said.