Many companies have been using artificial intelligence in their businesses for years in order to optimize performance and increase efficiency. However, Walmart has a unique advantage in this area due to its access to massive amounts of data. With approximately 4,700 Walmart stores and 600 Sam’s Clubs located throughout the United States, employing a combined 1.6 million associates, Walmart has access to an extensive and diverse data set that few other companies can match. This wealth of data allows Walmart to utilize AI and machine learning to derive valuable insights that can improve both the customer and employee experience across this large and complex environment.
Anshu Bhardwaj, senior vice president of tech strategy and commercialization at Walmart, has made it clear that the company is fully committed to using AI and machine learning to drive innovation and improve performance. He believes that Walmart AI technology can be used to better understand customer behavior, optimize logistics and supply chain management, and improve employee productivity. By leveraging the vast amounts of data at their disposal, Walmart is able to gain a competitive edge in the retail market and drive sustainable growth for years to come.
Sam’s Club and its unique experience
Sam’s Club, retail warehouse club operated by Waltmart Inc., has an innovative way of improving the shopping experience for its customers. Their membership model is not just a way to provide discounts, but also to gather data on customer preferences and purchase patterns. This data is then used to ensure that the items customers want to buy are always in stock. Moreover, Sam’s Club has implemented a system that goes above and beyond the traditional inventory management techniques. They use floor scrubbers that are equipped with inventory intelligence towers to capture real-time images of every item in the store. These scrubbers are not just used for keeping the floors clean and free of debris, but also for taking more than 20 million photos of everything on the shelves daily. This means that Sam’s Club is able to stay on top of its approximately 6,000 items stocked in its warehouse stores, which can average 136,000 square feet in size. With such a vast amount of data on customer preferences, the scrubbers help Sam’s Club to tailor the shopping experience to meet the needs of its customers.
During the interview, Bhardwaj came a little bit into an explanation of what this means in practice. “I can differentiate between Kellogg’s Froot Loops and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes with ease”. She explained that her expertise in this area extends to determining the depth at which these products are placed on supermarket shelves. She pointed out that due to the nature of shelf organization, items are not always found in front and can be stacked at the back, creating shadows that can make them more difficult to spot.
The company’s inventory management system has undergone a major transformation with the incorporation of Walmart AI and machine learning. Their sophisticated algorithms are capable of identifying different brands and their exact inventory positions with remarkable accuracy, taking into account even the minutest details like lighting and shelf depth. This ensures that the products are always available for the customers, thereby improving customer satisfaction levels.
In addition, the system is designed to alert the stock room in real-time whenever a product reaches a predetermined level. This ensures that the stock room is well-stocked with the product at all times, thereby preventing any delays or shortages. The system is also smart enough to send a notification to the associates if the stock room is out of a particular brand’s product, but a delivery containing the same is scheduled. This enables the associates to take the products directly to the sales floor instead of the stock room, thereby saving valuable time and effort.
The incorporation of this AI system has had a profound impact on the company’s employee productivity levels, with reports suggesting a staggering 15% increase in productivity since its implementation in the previous year. This is a testament to the system’s efficiency and effectiveness in streamlining the inventory management process, ultimately benefiting both the company and its customers.
Walmart shopping app and AI
Walmart is making a concerted effort to improve the shopping experience for its customers. One way they are doing this is by using AI technology in their shopping app. This technology allows the app to analyze customer behavior and preferences, such as how often they purchase certain items and what sizes they typically order. By understanding these patterns, Walmart can provide more personalized recommendations to each individual customer. This not only minimizes the gap between what customers want and what they ultimately purchase, but also makes the shopping experience more convenient and efficient. By leveraging AI, Walmart is able to focus on everyday items like milk and toilet paper, which are often necessities that customers need to purchase on a regular basis. With this technology, Walmart is able to anticipate customer needs and provide them with the best possible shopping experience.