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Walmart touts latest technology innovations, integrations

Walmart has incorporated drone delivery into its app, expanded its InHome service, implemented GenAI assistant and launched digital shelf labels.
walmart digital shelf
walmart digital shelf

Walmart is rolling out adaptive retail innovations as customers move across platforms and places.

"Driven by our commitment to help our customers live better, we're constantly working to create shopping experiences that are convenient, engaging and personalized. This experience needs to be cohesive, interconnected and seamlessly integrated into their everyday lives. By consistently pushing the boundaries, we're continuing to lead the industry in service of our customers," said Tom Ward, chief e-commerce officer at Walmart U.S. and its mobile app provide customers access to products and more, serving as a digital gateway to services such as auto care, pharmacy and virtual try-ons. 

Here are the retailer's latest offerings:

Since Walmart began trialing drone delivery in 2021, the service has grown rapidly, completing over 30,000 drone deliveries to date. Earlier this year, Walmart announced the largest drone delivery expansion of any U.S. retailer, making drone delivery a reality for up to 75% of the Dallas Fort-Worth population. 

Commenting on Walmart's drone delivery via Wing, Adam Woodworth, CEO of Wing said, "Our goal is to make drone delivery completely seamless for our partners and their customers. When Wing delivery is available within the Walmart app later this month, customers will have a wider selection and a better shopping experience than ever before. This is a major step toward making drone delivery a part of everyday life.” 

Woodworth provided the following list of Walmart stores where Wing drone delivery is now available:

  • 9101 N Tarrant Pkwy, North Richland Hills, Texas 

  • 6401 NE Loop 820, North Richland Hills, Texas

  • 801 W Main St, Lewisville, Texas

  • 8555 Preston Rd, Frisco, Texas

[Read more: Walmart launches associate bonuses, new opportunities]

As a next step, Walmart said it is focused on enhancing the customer journey by bringing the ordering experience directly to the Walmart app. Starting later this month, customers in DFW will begin to be notified of the new ordering capability through the Walmart app if they are eligible for drone delivery based on the address associated with their account. The integration will be done in phases as more drone delivery sites launch and drone providers receive additional regulatory approvals to fly more goods across greater distances. 

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walmart digital shelf
walmart digital shelf

Additionally, Walmart has built a suite of Pickup and Delivery options, from In-Store Pickup to Early Morning Delivery and Late-Night Express Delivery.

The company’s InHome service delivers products directly into their homes. Walmart is the only retailer offering delivery straight into customers’ kitchens or homes, the retailer noted. InHome is available as an add-on to the Walmart+ membership. Walmart has recently expanded the reach of its InHome service, making it accessible to over 45 million households across more than 50 markets nationwide. These markets include areas such as Boston, Detroit and Philadelphia. With this expansion, Walmart has created over 4,000 jobs for dedicated InHome Associate Delivery drivers nationwide since the program's launch in 2019.

In January, Walmart revealed it was enhancing the InHome service with replenishment. Replenishment, powered by AI, utilizes a personalized algorithm to predict customer needs and automatically place items into the cart with your InHome order to be delivered straight to customers pantries and refrigerators.

[Related: Walmart, Elton John AIDS Foundation partner to help end HIV/AIDS epidemic]

The algorithm learns customers' regularly-purchased items including frequency and quantity. In April, replenishment began its initial testing, and customer feedback has been positive. 

Walmart’s GenAI search experience on and in-app launched earlier this year. This advanced capability enhances the shopping experience by enabling customers to browse based on specific use cases, generating more relevant and cross-category results, per the retailer. Since that time, Walmart has added more GenAI-powered online shopping features, including GenAI-powered product reviews, product summarizations and product comparisons.

Walmart is now beta testing a GenAI-powered shopping assistant. The shopping assistant engages customers in natural, free-flowing conversations. As customers discover, evaluate and decide on the best product for them, the assistant can guide them to make the best choice for their unique needs, faster. For instance, the shopping assistant can respond to customer inquiries such as, 'What's the ideal present for a 5 year old?" Over time, it will evolve to include more advanced features and capabilities, eventually serving a trusted shopping companion and further transforming Walmart from a place to buy items to the first stop for any need or occasion.

Walmart also shared that it has been testing innovative technology that enhances the way it conducts pricing changes in stores.

Daniela Boscan, food & consumable team lead, Hurst, Texas shared the development noting, “Now, I’m excited to announce we’re expanding this new technology, called digital shelf labels (DSLs), to 2,300 stores by 2026. This represents a significant shift in how I, and other store associates, manage pricing, inventory, order fulfillment and customer interactions, ensuring our customers enjoy an even better shopping experience.”

[Read more: Pharmacy Innovator of the Year 2021: Walmart connects with communities]

“Walmart stores have over 120,000 products on shelves, each with an individual price tag. Every week our stores support thousands of pricing updates for new items, Rollbacks and markdowns. Digital shelf labels, developed by Vusion Group, allow us to update prices at the shelf using a mobile app, reducing the need to walk around the store to change paper tags by hand and giving us more time to support customers in the store,” Boscan said.

Here are a few key benefits, per Walmart:

  • Increased productivity and reduced walking time: DSLs allow the retailer to update prices with a few clicks. A price change that used to take an associate two days to update now takes only minutes with the new DSL system. This efficiency means employees can spend more time assisting customers and less time on repetitive tasks, Walmart noted.
  • Simplified stock replenishment: With the “Stock to Light” feature, an associate can flash an LED light on the shelf tag using their mobile device, signaling locations that require attention. This feature makes it easier for associates to identify shelf location when stocking shelves.
  • Faster order picking and fulfillment: The “Pick to Light” feature guides employees directly to the products needed for online orders, speeding up the picking process and improving order accuracy.

“The transition to digital shelf labels is a game-changer for Walmart, our customers and our associates. It is not only about improving efficiency and customer satisfaction, but also about integrating sustainability into our work, in this case, to help reduce operational waste. As we continue to digitalize stores and expand digital shelf labels to 2,300 stores by 2026, we are excited about the positive impact this innovation will have on our operations and the environment,” she said.

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