Walmart's Latest Tech-Powered Experiments Aim To Make Shopping Easier and More Convenient

Oct. 6, 2023

Child and woman sit at desk looking at laptop screen

At Walmart, everything we do starts and ends with our customer, including technology. Today, we’re offering a glimpse into a few of the latest emerging tech-powered experiences we’ve recently launched, or are testing, all designed to make shopping easier and more convenient.

From Search Terms to GenAI-Powered Online Shopping 

American families spend an eye-popping six hours per week on household planning and shopping, and although families routinely shop online for household items, the planning and shopping process continues to be tedious, time-consuming and full of last-minute surprises. 

We believe that generative AI (GenAI), a type of artificial intelligence that can generate text, images or other media from the data it’s trained on, can help Walmart customers spend more time doing the things they enjoy and less time scrolling, tapping and searching. That’s why we’re experimenting with a variety of GenAI-powered experiences that have the potential to elevate our relationship with customers from a shopping destination to a partner in accomplishing broader missions.

To start, we’re leveraging GenAI to enhance our search experience so that it better understands context and allows customers to search by specific use cases, generating more relevant results that allows them to save time. For example, customers can search “unicorn-themed toddler birthday party” instead of conducting multiple separate searches for plates, streamers, party favors and more.

We’re also enabling GenAI to assist customers with complex purchases, such as selecting an age-appropriate cell phone that’s compatible with their current wireless provider.

And we’re exploring how GenAI can aid in decision-making by creating tools that highlight priority product features and condense reviews into concise summaries. This will enable customers to make informed and confident buying decisions while saving them even more time.

From Text Message Shopping to Voice Shopping

Building on the success of Text to Shop, which launched last year, we are testing a voice experience in the Walmart mobile app that allows customers to shop hands-free on Walmart.com. Some potential feature capabilities we’re testing include enabling customers to shop using voice commands, engaging in back-and-forth conversations with the assistant, booking pickup and delivery time slots and more.  

From AR Shopping to AR + GenAI Shopping  

Our investment in AR tools for Apparel and Home are making for happier purchases: We’re seeing customers who use the tools buy more and more satisfied with their purchase. Now, we’re taking these experiences a step further, experimenting with a new tool that combines the power of GenAI and AR to provide even more design help.

With this tool, which is in early-stage development, customers can simply share their budget, theme and any other preferences to receive personalized assistance, powered by GenAI, in designing a room.

From Physical to Virtual Commerce  

We’re also exploring different experiences within virtual worlds, knowing customers are spending more and more time in these spaces. One such experiment is with a new form of commerce – one that allows customers to buy physical items contextually and natively within a virtual environment. We just launched this capability within a game called House Flip and are actively looking for more ways to connect virtual commerce to our stores and vice versa.

We’re constantly searching for ways to innovate and use emerging tech to make shopping easier and meet the needs of our customers. We’ll continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible. And as we do, we will always keep our customers at the center.