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08 April 2024

Two of the Biggest Retailers are Using GenAI to Improve the Shopping Experience and Provide Better Training for Employees

By Bobby Carlton

70% of executives and consumers believe that it can disrupt the sales and marketing industry. Also, 77% of business leaders consider GenAI to be an emerging technology.

In the fast-paced world of retail, every second count and retailers are dedicated to ensuring that every moment their customers spend shopping is as efficient and enjoyable as possible. One retailer is Walmart and they are turning to the power of Generative AI (GenAI) to revolutionize the way you search for products online, on your mobile device and in their stores.

To do this, Walmart developed Natural Language Processing (NLP) models tailored specifically to their own retail landscape from the past six decades, and it allowed them to understand and create an experience that catered to their customers’ needs like never before.

Through a collaboration with OpenAI, Walmart was able to build an experience that provided personalized responses and product suggestions unique to Walmart shoppers. This means that when you interact with their platform, you receive recommendations that truly resonate with your own personal preferences and shopping habits.

But GenAI isn’t just about personalized recommendations. It’s about transforming the entire shopping experience all together. Imagine being able to plan a party or prepare for a special occasion with just a single search prompt. With Walmart’s GenAI Search, that planning becomes very easy to do and removes the weight of the task off of your shoulders.

Walmart’s GenAI Search functionality takes the guesswork out of shopping by understanding the intent behind your query and presenting you with a curated list of relevant products for the type of party you are planning

By adding GenAI to the shopping experience, Walmart is able to analyze your query, session history, and engagement patterns to create a comprehensive list of products that meet your needs. By organizing products into distinct categories following the ‘Mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive (MECE)’ principle, they left no stone unturned as customers searched for the perfect items.

GenAI also assists in decision-making by highlighting key product features and condensing customer reviews into concise summaries. This helps you make informed choices and find products that align with your preferences and requirements.

Accessing this type of shopping experience technology doesn’t require you to download special apps or sign up for a service. Walmart’s GenAI Search is available through the Walmart iOS shopping app. As of right now the feature is only available in the U.S., with plans to expand to Android and web platforms in the near future.

Walmart’s CEO, Doug McMillon, expressed enthusiasm during the company’s latest earnings call, highlighting the significant improvements in search functionality facilitated by generative AI. He emphasized how this technology has transformed the search experience for customers and members, making it more solution-oriented and user-friendly.

Walmart and other major retailers are also investing in the development of AI to enhance their offerings. For instance, Walmart has introduced a variety of AI features in its app. 

Of course Walmart isn’t the only retailer using GenAI tools to create a better shopping experience. Another retail giant, Amazon sees this approach as being the future of shopping in general.

GenAi

Just recently it was announced that Amazon had just completed a $4 Billion investment into AI with Anthropic. The goal of this deal is to help improve the customer experience by using AI to enhance the operations of various businesses, and assist in creating a better and safer training environment for their employees.

“Generative AI (GenAI) is poised to be the most transformational technology of our time, and we believe our strategic collaboration with Anthropic will further improve our customers’ experiences, and look forward to what’s next,” said Dr. Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of data and AI at AWS, in an official statement.

Through this deal, Amazon will be able to provide its customers with Anthropic’s AI services through its Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. This partnership will help the company expand its B2B offerings and strengthen its leadership position in the retail industry.

With Amazon ramping up its investments in GenAI, Walmart is striving to stay competitive. Recently, the retail giant enhanced its app with new AI features and tapped into large language models (LLMs) from Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service, along with proprietary retail-specific models, to enhance search capabilities.

In the retail industry, generative AI is becoming more prevalent. According to a survey, 70% of executives and consumers believe that it can disrupt the sales and marketing industry. Also, 77% of business leaders consider generative AI to be an emerging technology. As the two major retailers, Walmart and Amazon, continue to compete with each other, it is expected that they will start investing in the development of AI-based solutions.

Don’t get caught too far behind retail giants Amazon and Walmart. Contact Bobby Carlton at bobby.carlton AT fsstudio.com or schedule a call through his Calendly link to set up a consultation call and see how genAi tools can help your business.