Walmart, the retail giant, is taking a bold step into the realm of generative AI tools, extending beyond its corporate use to enrich the shopping experience for customers. After successfully implementing a generative AI tool for its corporate employees earlier this year, Walmart is now gearing up to introduce three innovative features aimed at revolutionising the customer journey. In a recent demonstration with TechCrunch, a Walmart spokesperson unveiled the upcoming Shopping Assistant, Generative AI-powered Search, and an Interior Design feature.
Set to launch in the coming weeks, Walmart’s Shopping Assistant aims to provide customers with a more interactive and personalised shopping experience. Through an engaging and conversational interface, the assistant can answer specific queries, offer tailored product suggestions, and provide detailed information about various products. For instance, it can assist in suggesting Halloween costume ideas for a horror-themed party or guide parents on the ideal mobile phone for their child.
Walmart is also integrating generative AI into its search functionality, allowing users to input specific questions directly into the search bar. The AI-powered search tool understands context and generates a collection of relevant items for a single query. This saves customers time, enabling them to discover a wide array of products related to a particular theme or event without the need for multiple searches. This move aligns with the trend seen in other companies, such as Instacart, which recently introduced a ChatGPT-powered search tool.
In addition to the shopping assistant and AI-powered search, Walmart is venturing into the realm of interior design with a feature that combines generative AI and augmented reality (AR) technology. Users can upload a photo of a room, and the AI captures images of every item within that space. Customers can then seek advice from the chat assistant on room redecoration. The AI suggests items by placing them virtually in the room, and users can express their preferences and set a budget to find affordable items.
Walmart remains flexible in its approach to AI models, choosing from a variety of external models and emphasising the importance of adaptability. The spokesperson stated that the company doesn’t want to confine itself to specific models and intends to have the freedom to switch between different models as needed. This sets Walmart apart from other companies that may be locked into working with particular AI providers.
The investment in generative AI tools aligns with Walmart’s commitment to staying at the forefront of technological innovation. The spokesperson emphasised that generative AI technology is a priority for the company, reflecting the broader industry trend where companies are increasingly integrating AI into their products and services.