Walmart has tested out other robots and tech to automate tasks, such as unloading boxes from delivery trucks, checking items on the shelves, changing price labels on products, and selecting items for online grocery.
"One of our focus areas has been on bots," CFO Brett Biggs told investors at an October gathering.
Down the road, Walmart sees all three robots communicating with each other to get products to the shelves more quickly and ensure they're fully stocked.
"There are all these activities -- mopping, checking inventory, unpacking trucks -- that are not sexy, but are required," said Oliver Chen, who covers retail at Cowen. "If you can utilize technology to make that happen, you can free up labor to do other things."
"There will be have and have-nots that can afford the robotization of retail," Chen added.
Amazon bought Kiva systems to automate its warehouses, but Walmart has a more difficult task of trying to figure out how to deploy robots in stores.
Options for customers
Dotcom Store, a new app for workers, will help the company keep shoppers from heading to Amazon when they can't find something on Walmart's shelves.
The new app, available in nearly all of Walmart's stores, allows workers to order items online for customers if they're out of stock. Customers can pay with cash, check, or credit and get the product shipped to their homes or for in-store pickup.
"Dotcom Store offers customers even more assortment options than what's on our physical shelves," Tom Ward, Walmart's senior vice president of digital and central operations, said in a statement this week.
Walmart is trying to reduce customer pain points in stores, such as waiting in long lines or trouble finding an item, Chen said.
He warned, however, that retailers like Walmart should proceed with caution when launching new tech in stores. "You don't want to mess up the experience for the 95% of people who aren't interested in this yet and cause friction for the bulk of your revenue."