American retailer Walmart has built a new generative AI-powered search function for its online shoppers.
The innovation is specifically designed to understand the context of a customer’s query and serve up a curated list of personalised items for the shopper.
Customers will soon be able to have a more interactive and conversational experience. For example, if a parent is planning a birthday party for a child that loves unicorns, instead of multiple searches for unicorn-themed party accessories, the parent can simply ask “Help me plan a unicorn-themed party for my daughter”.
The new search – unveiled by Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at CES 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada – uses a combination of Walmart proprietary data and technology and large language models, including those available in Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service.
Walmart has also deployed a My Assistant app for its 50,000 non-store associates, which enables them to use AI to complete tasks such as summarising long documents and creating content.
Walmart’s My Assistant app uses generative AI to help non-store associates complete certain tasks quicker
“One of the reasons why Walmart and other leading retailers are choosing Azure OpenAI Service is the ability to access the most advanced AI models in the world while backed by the enterprise-grade capabilities found in Microsoft Azure including security, compliance and regional availability,” said Shelley Bransten, corporate vice president of global retail, consumer goods and gaming industries at Microsoft, in a blog post. “Generative AI in retail is particularly exciting as it can help usher in a new way of shopping; shifting from ‘scroll searching’ to ‘goal searching’, which makes the digital shopping experience more seamless and intuitive.”