default-output-block.skip-main
BoF Logo

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

Walmart Expands Rollout of Generative AI Shopping Search

Walmart delivery parcel with the logo and barcodes on the front of the cardboard package.
The technology is now available for use on the Walmart app on Apple Inc.’s iOS mobile operating system. (Shutterstock)

Walmart Inc. opened up access to a generative artificial intelligence tool that allows shoppers to search for products by specific use cases, rather than look up one item at a time.

The technology is now available for use on the Walmart app on Apple Inc.’s iOS mobile operating system, the world’s largest retailer said in a statement Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Walmart previously released the tool as a beta test in November.

The search using generative AI — a technology that allows users to more quickly create text, speech and images — lets a shopper look for a specific theme or idea and returns products and items across a range of relevant categories. Asking for help with a football watch party, for example, could yield recommendations for crisps, wings, drinks and a widescreen TV.

The tool is built using a range of large language models, including Microsoft Corp.’s Azure OpenAI Service. The cloud-based platform offers OpenAI’s models to Microsoft’s commercial customers.

Walmart and other US retailers have been expanding generative-AI tools, seeking to engage better with customers and drive growth.

Walmart’s broader online business has been a growth engine, outpacing those of many other retailers. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company has been investing in automation at warehouses and revamped its website and app last year, though it cut jobs at e-commerce hubs last year. While the retail giant’s overall sales have been rising, it has been more cautious recently about consumer spending amid high interest rates and declining savings.

The big-box company is exhibiting on the CES showroom floor for the first time with a 7,000-square-foot display. CEO Doug McMillon and other Walmart executives delivered a keynote speech Tuesday on the technology efforts, with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joining McMillon for part of the session.

Walmart also touted a global rollout of a generative-AI tool for its workforce. Introduced in August, My Assistant can help Walmart staff to generate document drafts and summarize large documents. The retailer will make the tool available in 11 countries, in the native languages for those markets.

Sam’s Club, Walmart’s membership warehouse chain and rival to Costco Wholesale Corp., demonstrated an AI and computer-vision technology to scan shoppers’ carts as they leave the store. The system compares a cart’s contents against the transaction receipt, eliminating the need for human checks at the door.

Away from AI and software, Walmart is also expanding its technology footprint in the real world. The company is boosting its drone deliveries to 1.8 million additional households in Dallas-Fort Worth. The expanded service, employing tech from drone companies Wing and Zipline, will now cover 75 percent of the metropolitan area and is up from serving just 60,000 homes when it launched in August.

By Ed Ludlow and Jaewon Kang


Learn more:

Can Walmart Finally Crack Fashion?

The big-box retailer is revamping its apparel offering in a bid to become a style destination, a goal it’s tried — and failed — to hit multiple times before. But between a squeezed consumer and the rise of Gen-Z, this time is different, the company says.

In This Article

© 2024 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions

More from Technology
Analysis and advice on how technology is disrupting fashion and creating new opportunities.

The social-media giant is making it easier for users to find inspirational images of people with similar hair, skin and body types as them, helping it attract Gen-Z consumers who are using shopping features on the platform at a higher rate than any other group.




view more

Subscribe to the BoF Daily Digest

The essential daily round-up of fashion news, analysis, and breaking news alerts.

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.
CONNECT WITH US ON
BoF Professional Summit - New Frontiers: AI, Digital Culture and Virtual Worlds - March 22, 2024
© 2024 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy and Accessibility Statement.
BoF Professional Summit - New Frontiers: AI, Digital Culture and Virtual Worlds - March 22, 2024