Walmart Expands Generative AI Search Experiences

Walmart opened up access to a generative artificial intelligence (GAI) tool that allows shoppers to search for products by specific requirements such as what to wear to a wedding in the evening, rather than searching for one item at a time.

"Today, more than ever, advances in technology make it feel like anything is possible," said Doug McMillon, Walmart chief executive officer, during Tuesday’s keynote at CES.

The latest technology -- which the company is calling a “customer’s concierge” -- allows consumers to search based on themes or idea. It returns text and images across a range of relevant categories.

Asking for advice on what to serve at a Super Bowl party could return recommendations for drinks, chips and wings, as well as a widescreen TV.



McKinsey last year estimated that AI will create between $400 and $660 billion in value for the retail and consumer-goods industry.

Walmart developers build the tool based on large language models (LLMs), including Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI service, a cloud-based platform that offers OpenAI’s models to Microsoft’s commercial customers.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joined McMillon to announce the offering. A post on the company's website described how Walmart built the new design that serves up a curated list of the personalized items a shopper seeks. It also described Microsoft's relationship with Walmart, saying the companies have worked together since 2018. 

The AI search technology is available to use in the Walmart app on the Apple iOS mobile operating system.

The Walmart team at CES also demonstrated a look into Walmart InHome Replenishment, which uses AI and Walmart’s replenishment expertise to ensure customers purchase the correct items online.

A beta social commerce platform called Shop with Friends builds on augmented reality (AR) shopping by enabling customers to share the virtual outfits they create with friends and get feedback on their fashion finds.  

Sam’s Club also demonstrated a new technology that is intended to solve something the company calls "waiting in line for receipt verification when exiting the club." That's the time someone at the door checks off items bought from a sales receipt. The technology uses a first-of-its-kind application of AI and computer vision technology as members exit the store. 

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