Walmart’s Backing AI to Speed Up Shopping – Is That the Only Benefit?

Artificial intelligence (AI) to help you shop? Is there anything this technology isn’t attempting to do?

In fairness, this is one of the more positive AI applications. It hasn’t always had positive press – it wasn’t long ago that the likes of Joe Biden and other prominent figures from scientific and technology backgrounds – including Elon Musk – were calling for a blanket ban.

But Walmart says no, they’ll use it to help you shop faster. But will it be good for anything else? Let’s explore.

Walmarts AI Vision

Walmart is a leading dealer in retail, and they’re leading the way with this idea. Research shows it’s one of the first supermarkets to do it. The retail giant envisions a world where shopping is not just a chore but seamlessly integrated into your life. Because we all know shopping is a chore, and somehow it’s easy to find yourself in the supermarket every day.

The future Walmart is crafting with its InHome replenishment service is a bold leap from the conventional online shopping cart to an intuitive one. Online shopping cart services and deliveries are flawed. But apparently, AI will understand your buying habits and do it all for you.

By analysing patterns and preferences, the system aims to react to your needs but anticipate them, ensuring you’re never caught off guard by an empty cereal box or a depleted milk supply. But you could end up with 5 milk bottles if this doesn’t work.

Still, it’s not just about restocking. It’s about redefining the relationship between retailers and consumers, hopefully.

How It’ll Work

Walmart’s InHome replenishment service will use sophisticated algorithms. It’ll learn your consumption patterns, know when you’re about to run out of essentials and create replenishment with minimal input from you.

But the issue is, there have to be flaws with this. The technology will be sophisticated, but we guarantee that there will be errors. Even now, you can order broccoli from Tesco and get toilet rolls as a replacement because broccoli wasn’t available. Thanks, Tesco. So surely, despite AI’s sophistication, people won’t always get what they want. Or perhaps it’ll make it better. Who knows.

There will undoubtedly be teething issues, that’s for sure.

What Else Can They Use It For?

Walmart’s venture with AI doesn’t end with your pantry. It will transform the entire shopping landscape.

From GenAI search, a search engine that understands your vague requests for a ‘Super Bowl party’ and offers a curated shopping list, to AR-driven ‘Shop with Friends’, which turns shopping into a social, interactive experience, Walmart is utilising every aspect of the technology.

And then there’s Sam’s Club, under Walmart’s umbrella, which is experimenting with AI to streamline checkout processes. It’ll ensure your shopping cart is tallied accurately without the bottleneck of manual checks.

The Positive Benefits of AI For B2C Trade

AI can have a big positive impact on B2C trade. It’s about enhancing efficiency, sure, but it’s also about elevating the customer experience to new heights. Personalisation is perhaps the biggest benefit. A 2023 study revealed that 53% of US shoppers say they often sign up for personalisation, and 19% say they frequently do. But the list extends beyond personalisation:

  • Understand consumer behaviour
  • Understand demographics
  • Automating processes
  • Tailored marketing campaigns
  • More efficiency

That’s only the beginning. Applications for AI for B2C are in their infancy.

Walmart’s AI idea is the future, to be honest. The idea just makes sense. Shopping has to be one of the most annoying, mundane chores. As a consumer, it makes total sense to utilise something like this – but it has to work right. No doubt other supermarkets will follow soon.