The future took one step closer for Walmart shoppers, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI). Fear not, we’re not talking about self-aware robots shopping for our can of tomato juice or a pack of baby diapers, nor is it anything as extravagant as robots monitoring the aisles to restock products. Nope. Walmart is taking a simplified introductory approach to AI for its shoppers. The king of retail is utilizing AI to assist employees in ways that create a better shopping experience for customers. From helping employees track the freshness of products through expiration date removal notifications, to real-time inventory restocking needs, Walmart is showcasing AI to its shoppers in a friendly and non-invasive way.
Walmart announced it will open a 50,000 square-foot “smart” store in Long Island, NY that will feature AI processes that are beneficial to the overall shopping experience. This store of the “immediate future” has been recently remodeled, fully upgraded, and equipped with AI-enabled cameras, sensors, and even interactive displays. Walmart stated that they hope to use AI to gather information, track inventory, and identify areas of the store that need attention with real-time precision.
For most shoppers, the use of AI and how it’s being incorporated into their daily routine has been shrouded in mystery by retailers. However, Walmart has decided to bring AI to the forefront with its new smart store. Curious shoppers take a peek into the Intelligent Retail Lab, Walmart’s fancy name for the store’s computer servers. From there they can even interact with educational displays that allow them to learn more about what’s really happening behind the scenes. As AI becomes more ingrained in how we make online and in-store purchase decisions, perhaps educating shoppers around what AI can do for them can keep them from being too wary of sharing their personal shopping data. Walmart’s ultimate AI goal is one that has shoppers becoming less resistant to interacting with artificial intelligence, resulting in a more frictionless shopping experience.