Walmart Unveils Generative AI Tools for Shoppers and Associates at CES 2024
Walmart unveiled two generative AI tools at the CES 2024 Las Vegas aimed at easing shopping experience and streamlining productivity.
Walmart showcased its latest generative AI capabilities at the CES 2024 conference in Las Vegas. The retailer introduced two innovative AI-powered tools aimed at revolutionizing the shopping experience and streamlining operational efficiency for its associates.
Walmart’s new GenAI search is a product of collaboration between the company and Microsoft. The tool leverages Microsoft’s AI models and integrates them with Walmart’s extensive shopper data. GenAI search will allows shoppers to efficiently locate products based on specific use cases rather than relying on traditional brand names or item descriptions.
Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon, alongside Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella, introduced these AI innovations at CES 2024, highlighting their potential to significantly benefit Walmart customers.
When you're the powerhouse CEO of Walmart Doug McMillon, you can bring out a surprise partner like the CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella. Some impressive tech updates to come 😁 #Walmart #CES2024 #microsoft pic.twitter.com/kpdQLfoB0W— GAMEROOMTHEATER (@gameroomtheater) January 10, 2024
Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor reveal that American families spend six hours weekly on household planning and shopping, with a significant portion of this activity taking place digitally on Walmart’s platform. With over $82 billion in e-commerce sales generated in fiscal year 2023, Walmart now aims to expand its digital customer base.
In 2024, Walmart plans to boost its digital shopping experience further by incorporating generative AI into its search function. By utilizing proprietary data, technology, and language models, including those from Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service, Walmart presents a curated list of personalized items to shoppers, offering a more intuitive browsing experience.
Leveraging Generative AI to Enhance Shopping Experiences
Walmart announced that generative AI-powered search function (GenAI search) has been integrated across iOS, Android and Walmart’s website, for a consistent experience across platforms. The AI capability is designed to comprehend the context of a customer’s query, providing personalized responses and soon offering a more interactive and conversational experience.
“For instance, a parent planning a unicorn-themed birthday party for their child can now simply ask, “Help me plan a unicorn-themed party for my daughter,” streamlining the search process and making it more efficient,” said Walmart, in a blog post.
The retail company said its choice to utilize Azure OpenAI Service backed by Microsoft Azure’s enterprise-grade capabilities, stems from the desire to access the most advanced AI models globally. The approach aims to ensure cutting-edge technology adoption but prioritizes factors like security, compliance and regional availability.
Beyond enhancing the customer experience, Walmart acknowledged the significance of its associates. The company has introduced the generative AI-powered “My Assistant” app for smartphones — designed to assist associates in various tasks, from summarizing lengthy documents to content creation. The app will be accessible to Walmart’s 50,000 non-store associates and highlights the impact of AI in boosting productivity and efficiency.
Walmart and Microsoft said the companies share a common vision of utilizing AI to enhance productivity and satisfaction among employees, while addressing critical challenges faced by organizations.
While Walmart’s generative AI approach involves a combination of large language models, retail-specific models, and proprietary data, Microsoft will offer a versatile portfolio of prebuilt, low-code and pro-code solutions. The development will aid retailers, regardless of their specific scenarios to benefit from AI advancements on their unique journeys.
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