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Walmart Aims to Be an AI Concierge as Amazon Expands Buy With Prime


From Walmart looking to be a personal shopping concierge to Amazon expanding its Buy with Prime to more platforms and leveraging tech to help consumers manage their healthcare, the two retail giants faced off this week with news of tech with a personal touch that reaches into many parts of consumers’ daily lives.

Walmart and Amazon debuted tech at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week in a digital one-upmanship. Both companies are leveraging innovative strategies, partnerships and technologies.

Strategic Cuts and Streamlining

Amazon announced this week it is cutting of hundreds of jobs in its Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios organization. This decision comes after a year-long review of the company’s business, during which opportunities to reduce or discontinue investments in certain areas were identified.

Along with job cuts, Amazon has also terminated multiple projects initiated during former CEO Jeff Bezos’ tenure, including the division responsible for its voice-activated assistant, Alexa, and its music division. The live-streaming service, Twitch, is also preparing to cut about 35% of its staff. These strategic cuts reflect Amazon’s focus on prioritizing initiatives that will have the most impact and positioning the business for a stronger future.

Expansion and Investment in AI

In contrast to Amazon’s streamlining efforts, Walmart has been focusing on expanding its physical presence and investing in new technologies. The company has been opening new stores and remodeling existing ones to improve the shopping experience for customers.

Walmart has also been investing in eCommerce and digital capabilities to compete with Amazon in the online space. Leveraging its network of physical stores, Walmart offers services like curbside pickup and same-day delivery, providing customers with more convenient options for shopping. The company has also been investing in technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics to improve efficiency in its operations.

Integration of Buy With Prime and Salesforce Commerce

In recent news, Amazon announced the integration of its Buy With Prime tool with the Salesforce Commerce Cloud. This collaboration aims to enhance the shopping experience for Salesforce merchants and attract Prime members to their platforms. Buy With Prime allows merchants to sell listed products directly from their websites, providing access to Amazon’s payments and fulfillment services at checkout.

By incorporating Buy With Prime into their shopping platforms, Salesforce merchants can tap into the Prime shopping experience, while Amazon expands its customer reach.

In Pursuit of Healthcare Dominance

Both Walmart and Amazon have recognized the potential of the healthcare industry and are pursuing strategies to establish themselves as key players. Amazon has made strategic acquisitions, such as its purchase of One Medical, to offer discounted healthcare services to Prime members and help them find unused benefits.

Walmart, meanwhile, aims to open 75 health centers by 2025, providing a wide range of healthcare services. Both companies are also leveraging digital healthcare solutions and their extensive networks to offer affordable healthcare products and services.

Adoption of Artificial Intelligence

Walmart and Amazon are incorporating AI into their operations. Walmart has integrated generative AI into its digital shopping platform, allowing customers to search for specific themes or occasions and receive curated results across multiple categories.

“The way people buy and discover goods has evolved into a seamless integration of online and offline experiences,” the retailer said in a press release this week. “Customers expect retailers to provide a convenient and enjoyable shopping experience.”

With technologies like AI and augmented reality (AR), Walmart will increasingly serve as not just a shopping destination but a “customer’s concierge,” according to the release.

Walmart has also introduced the My Assistant app, an AI-powered tool that assists non-store associates with various tasks.

Not to be outdone, Amazon has been leveraging AI models available in Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service to provide a more personalized shopping experience. Amazon’s latest tool lets viewers cast content to its devices from Apple and Google-powered streaming apps.

The company’s Matter Casting was unveiled Tuesday (Jan. 9), one of several offerings rolled out by the tech giant at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

“Customers can begin watching a movie or browse for their next favorite show from Prime Video on their phone and cast it to their compatible Fire TV device or Echo Show 15,” the company said in a blog post. “This is an industry-first demonstration of implementing Matter Casting.”