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Walmart Aims to Become ‘Customer’s Concierge’ With Latest Retail Technologies

The future of commerce will be “customer-centric, interconnected, frictionless and consistently exceeds expectations.”

So said Walmart in a Tuesday (Jan. 9) press release describing some of its latest retail technologies that were unveiled at the CES trade show.

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

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

For example, a new generative AI-powered search experience that is now available to iOS customers generates relevant, cross-category results. That means a customer can search for “football watch party” rather than launching individual searches for chips, wings, drink and a TV.

InHome Replenishment builds upon Walmart’s InHome Delivery program by using both AI and the retailer’s expertise to ensure customers’ online shopping carts are filled with the right items, at the right time, and delivered to the customer’s refrigerator.

Shop with Friends, a social commerce platform that is now in beta, uses AR and allows customers to create virtual outfits, share them with friends and get feedback.

Computer vision and AI are combined in a solution that is being tested at 10 Sam’s Club locations to enable members to leave the store without having to wait in line for receipt verification at the exit.

Drone delivery is being expanded to another 1.8 million households in the Dallas Fort-Worth metroplex, enabling 75% of the items in a Supercenter to be delivered to customers’ homes within 30 minutes.

My Assistant, a generative AI-powered tool for Walmart campus associates, is being expanded to enable those in 11 countries to interact with the tool in their native language. Launched in the United States in August, this tool helps associates with tasks like summarizing large documents.

Clean energy projects will help power this technology. Walmart announced at CES that it aims to enable up to 10 gigawatts of such projects into service on- and off-site by the end of 2030. That’s equal to the annual power consumption of more than 2 million households.

Some of these generative AI-powered tools have been developed in conjunction with Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service, the tech giant said Tuesday.