Converge @ Walmart: Powering the Present and Enabling the Future of Retail

A hand pointing at the ‘add to cart’ button showcasing a shopping cart

Walmart has been at the forefront of retail innovation from the beginning, forever changing the way people shop. And while the world of retail has grown more complex, our approach to innovation is the same: How can we help people save money so that they can live better? 

Emerging tech plays a key role in this endeavor. From Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality - these technologies allow us to empower people throughout the customer experience journey. 

These and other cutting-edge technologies will take center stage at Converge @ Walmart, our Walmart Global Tech flagship event in India. In its third year, attendees will learn firsthand from industry leaders how technologies are transforming day-to-day experiences like never before.

Retail today is personal and conversational

The COVID-19 pandemic created a seismic shift in how customers prefer to shop. Safety and convenience became paramount and retailers stepped up to meet this new reality. 

The world welcomed and embraced these changes, from contactless payments and drone deliveries to AI-powered chatbots and virtual try-ons. A key example is Walmart's innovative use of Augmented Reality (AR) and intricate Machine Learning (ML) models to create the ‘Be Your Own Model’ feature. This application allows customers to visualize how clothing will look on them before making a purchase. 

AI also plays a crucial role in enhancing the shopping experience. The Walmart Voice Order system helps customers build their order using voice inputs, using Natural Language Processing to understand requests. The system also uses product-name entity recognition to identify the products and a customer’s prior purchase to determine brand preferences. If a customer says, “Hey Google, add Great Value orange juice, a loaf of Great Value bread and a dozen eggs to my cart,” the system knows that the customer is asking for the brand Great Value, and not just for any product that is priced attractively.

Emerging tech is improving operations 

Such tech-powered solutions are revolutionizing the way the world shops with a more customized, frictionless experience. They have become invaluable tools for understanding customer needs and delivering personalized experiences, as well as for boosting employee productivity and operational efficiency. 

AI in inventory management, for example, is a game-changer for customers and retailers alike. This is exemplified by IRAS (Item Recognition as a Service) by Sam’s Club, Walmart's membership warehouse club. 

IRAS is a computer vision platform that enables robotic floor scrubbers to support inventory management. It autonomously carries out functions such as identifying and predicting stockout, adding items to the drop list, finding missing or incorrect price signs, reading Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and more. 

Empowering associates, supporting inclusion 

Emerging technologies not only benefit customers, but also help the workforce in performing tasks with ease. For instance, Sam’s Club AI-powered voice assistant, Ask Sam, helps in-store associates locate items, access store maps, view sales information, check messages and more. Associates can ask questions like “What aisle is hand soap located in” or “What’s my schedule for tomorrow?”

Technology is also enabling experiences that are inclusive to all. With the power of AI, Walmart Global Tech implemented a Spanish search capability, translating more than one million of the most searched queries into Spanish. The solution uses NLP to detect language, discern nuances and translate queries to deliver a seamless, intuitive experience for customers.

Experience the new world of retail tech at Converge

Walmart is using emerging technologies to transform retail and touch the lives of millions globally, thereby embracing the evolving needs of customers and fueling business growth. And Converge @ Walmart is the exclusive platform where you can learn more about this dynamic space from retail and tech industry experts. 

Check out what we have in store and register today – your ticket to the future of retail awaits!