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Bernard Marr

Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the fields of business and technology, with a passion for using technology for the good of humanity. He is a best-selling author of over 20 books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations. He has a combined following of 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world.

Bernard’s latest books are ‘Future Skills’, ‘The Future Internet’, ‘Business Trends in Practice’ and ‘Generative AI in Practice’.

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Bernard Marr ist ein weltbekannter Futurist, Influencer und Vordenker in den Bereichen Wirtschaft und Technologie mit einer Leidenschaft für den Einsatz von Technologie zum Wohle der Menschheit. Er ist Bestsellerautor von 20 Büchern, schreibt eine regelmäßige Kolumne für Forbes und berät und coacht viele der weltweit bekanntesten Organisationen. Er hat über 2 Millionen Social-Media-Follower, 1 Million Newsletter-Abonnenten und wurde von LinkedIn als einer der Top-5-Business-Influencer der Welt und von Xing als Top Mind 2021 ausgezeichnet.

Bernards neueste Bücher sind ‘Künstliche Intelligenz im Unternehmen: Innovative Anwendungen in 50 Erfolgreichen Unternehmen’

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The Amazing Ways Walmart Is Using Generative AI

26 February 2024

Walmart is no stranger to adopting new technologies and embracing transformation. You don’t get to be the world’s largest retailer by stubbornly sticking to the “this is how we’ve always done it” mindset. As such, there’s a lot that other organizations – retailers and otherwise – can learn from Walmart. Particularly when it comes to generative AI. Walmart has been busy integrating generative AI right across the business, using the transformative technology to drive performance and deliver a better service to customers.

Let’s explore some of the ways in which Walmart is deploying generative AI.

The Amazing Ways Walmart Is Using Generative AI | Bernard Marr

Improving The Shopping Experience

So much of grocery shopping involves buying the same items on a weekly or regular basis. Walmart knows this, which is why the retailer has introduced voice shopping as an easier way for customers to reorder common items. The Walmart Voice Order service allows customers to connect their mobile devices and home smart speakers to their Walmart account and simply say out loud what they want to order. For example, a customer can say, “Hey Google, please add a dozen eggs to my cart,” and the system will understand the request, identify the customer’s preferred brand from previous purchases, and add the item. Pretty cool, huh?

There’s also a Text to Shop feature that lets customers ask for what they want by texting Walmart. With a simple text chat powered by conversational AI technology, customers can search for items, add or remove products from their cart, reorder products, and schedule a delivery or pickup.

Walmart is also introducing a new online AI shopping assistant designed to help shoppers find the best products for their needs or even plan the perfect event. Whether you want to throw a superhero-themed party for a six-year-old or find a fun Halloween costume for your teenager, the tool will recommend relevant and related products – without you having to do multiple individual searches.

Voice Assistance For In-Store Associates

It’s not just customers who can benefit from generative AI voice assistants. Walmart has introduced a conversational AI called Ask Sam for in-store associates. The AI helper can assist colleagues with all sorts of queries, such as finding a specific product in the store, looking up prices, or questions about the employee’s work schedule. Again, this can all be done with simple questions, such as “What aisle is cinnamon located in?”

Enhancing Customer Service

Most of us are no strangers to customer service chatbots – some of which can be incredibly frustrating to deal with. But generative AI brings a new level of capability to chatbots by allowing them to interpret and respond to requests in a more intelligent and human way. This is why companies, including Walmart, are turning to generative AI to automate certain customer support requests. Since 2020, Walmart says the technology has reduced millions of customer contacts by immediately providing answers to questions about returns, order status, and more. This real-time conversational functionality is available across multiple countries, including the US, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and India.

Automating Supplier Negotiations

One particularly interesting use case is in supplier negotiations. Walmart has trialed using a generative AI chatbot to close deals with 89 suppliers of items like shopping carts and other store equipment. Of those suppliers, the chatbot closed deals with 64 percent, gaining an average of 1.5 percent in cost savings and an extra 35 days in extended payment terms. An impressive 83 percent of suppliers actually liked the chatbot negotiation – proving that not only can automated negotiations result in better terms, but they can provide a good experience for vendors, too.

Allowing Employees To Come Up With Their Own Solutions

One thing that a lot of business leaders struggle with is determining where best to use a new technology like generative AI. So why not let your employees tell you where they could best use it? That’s the approach Walmart is taking, opening up its generative AI tool My Assistant to employees who work at corporate facilities. The hope is generative AI will help reduce the load of “monotonous, repetitive tasks,” giving employees more time to focus on the customer experience. It’s expected that employees will surface their own practical ways to use the tool in their daily work. So, basically, Walmart is crowdsourcing ideas for generative AI uses from its vast pool of employees, which is a brilliant way to foster creativity and engage people with new technology.

I find it inspiring that Walmart is looking at ways to integrate this transformative technology right across the business. That’s something every organization can learn from.

Business Trends In Practice | Bernard Marr
Business Trends In Practice | Bernard Marr

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Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the fields of business and technology, with a passion for using technology for the good of humanity.

He is a best-selling author of over 20 books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations.

He has a combined following of 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world.

Bernard’s latest book is ‘Generative AI in Practice’.

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