Walmart uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help its customers, and personal shoppers better manage the growing demand for food online amid the COVID-19 pandemic. SriniVenkatesan, Walmart’s executive vice president of global technology, noted in a company blog that as Americans increasingly turn to the Internet for commodity purchases, stores like Walmart face a “unique challenge.”
Online shopping, coupled with the high volume of shoppers in stores, caused the most popular items to quickly sell out as customers returned to the branches. Walmart’s solution was to use artificial intelligence to help customers choose the best substitute for an out-of-stock item at the store.
Venkatesan said that to affirm an article is very similar to another that had been selected previously is a very personal process since there are more than 100 factors to make a decision. Choosing the wrong product can negatively impact customer satisfaction and increase the cost as manual processes are time-consuming.
The use of artificial intelligence allows taking into account different variables in real-time, such as size, brand, price, buyer data, and current inventory of stores. The method is based on requesting the customer’s approval of the item that has been replaced, which allows the system to give the algorithms learning to improve future recommendations.
In addition, the use of AI is aimed at making the work of Walmart associates easier, and the technology shows where each item is located in the store to reduce the time spent on an order.
Back in the month of July 2020, Walmart’s corporate affairs informed the world that the company had gone forward with hiring more than 400,000 new associates to mitigate the sudden demand of customer’s rush shopping of essentials as the advent of the lockdown struck across the US.
Venkatesan concluded by further saying that Walmart’s goal is to never run out of stock or have replacements, but if in some situation it happens, the technology they have built will help ensure that customers get the best of services. The company added an illustrated video in the blog post, which showcases a Walmart personal shopper who is s looking to draw a substitution for its online order.
According to the Walmart website, about 220 million customers visit approximately 10,500 stores and clubs in 24 countries and e-commerce websites. The company has 170,000 personal shoppers to perform Express delivery in more than 3,000 stores that represent almost 70% of the branches in the United States.