Your Personal Shopper: The Science of My Job @WalmartLabs

By Om Marwah
March 12, 2015
Cognitive Scientist Om Marwah with WalmartLabs Logo

Have you ever gotten an email from Walmart about an item you were just browsing on Walmart.com? What about one that featured products that are perfect for your spring-cleaning project? These seemingly instinctive alerts aren’t necessarily coincidental, but rather are created by the targeting team at @WalmartLabs. As a part of the targeting team, I work every day to find the best values for customers and provide them the most up-to-date, relevant, and exciting information.

For me, working at @WalmartLabs allows me to use my passion to make shopping more enjoyable and convenient for our customers. I recently graduated from UCLA, where I received degrees in both cognitive science and geography. From there, I was fortunate to get a position on the targeting team at @WalmartLabs that allows me to fuse my two degrees in a way that can impact others with money and time savings.

My main interest is understanding and analyzing human behavior, and I think retail is a fascinating environment to study the mixture of culture, society, and human emotion. Understanding people requires both understanding the mind and the world where it functions. Using the preferences our customers provide, and transferring them into data-driven technologies at @WalmartLabs, we can create a customer experience that helps make shopping even easier.

For example, let’s say you use the Walmart app to search for a new hairdryer. You find one you like, but don’t purchase it at that time. The following week, the hairdryer goes on Rollback. As soon as the price is lowered, the idea is that the app would send you a notification to let you know about the change — all in an effort to save you money on the purchase and save you time by preventing you from continuing your search.

Every day, we use technology to make the e-commerce experience much more personalized, and I think customers appreciate that. When an item you want is out of stock, we can alert you when it is available again. If a price drops, you could get a notification. In a world where so much is being thrown at you, we aim to take the work out of shopping and make the experience fun. In that sense, we are really providing a service to our customers.  

Walmart is fundamental to daily life for many. Each day our customers interact with the technology we build, and each day that drives us to innovate more. Whether it’s inventing new services or solving traditional challenges with new technology, it’s never a dull day at @WalmartLabs.

Editor’s Note: Om Marwah is a 26-year-old Cognitive Scientist with @WalmartLabs in San Bruno, California. Om was recently named to Forbes’ list of “30 Under 30 Rising Stars of Enterprise Technology.”