Skip to main content

Walmart unveils new AI, AR, drone, clean energy efforts

Walmart Shop with Friends
Walmart's new Shop with Friends social shopping feature.

Walmart is launching a number of new technology and sustainability initiatives.

In a keynote address at the CES 2024 consumer technology conference in Las Vegas, Doug McMillion, president and CEO of Walmart Inc., revealed several new efforts the discount giant and its Sam’s Club subsidiary are undertaking  to improve customers' shopping experience. 

As part of its new push, Walmart is expanding a 30-minute drone delivery pilot with Wing, the on-demand drone delivery provider powered by Google’s parent company Alphabet, to 1.8 million additional households in the Dallas Fort-Worth metroplex, which will result in coverage of 75% of the area. Of the 120,000 items in a typical Supercenter store, Walmart says 75% meet the size and weight requirements for drone delivery.  

Highlights of Walmart’s and Sam’s Club’s other new technology and sustainability programs are below.

Gen AI-powered search

Walmart is now making a new generative AI-based search function available to iOS users. The enhanced search experience, initially tested in fall 2023, allows customers to search by specific use cases, e.g., a football watch party versus individual searches for chips, wings, drinks and a 90-inch TV. It generates relevant, cross-category results. 

InHome Replenishment

Walmart will use a personalized replenishment algorithm to anticipate needs and place orders delivered directly to customers' pantry and fridge via its InHome Delivery service. The algorithm learns what customers purchase regularly, how much they purchase and the frequency of those purchases. With that information, a customer's online shopping cart is filled with the right items at the appropriate time.

Customers will have complete control: skip items not needed, add additional items to the order and adjust their delivery day and time if needed. The new replenishment service will automate the entire shopping experience.

Shop with Friends

An augmented reality (AR)-based beta social commerce platform called Shop with Friends enables customers to share virtual outfits they create with friends and get feedback on their selections.

By utilizing Shop withFriends, customers will be able to mix and match apparel items to create virtual outfits on a model with similar sizing and shape. The tool integrates with popular mobile sharing applications. Each invited user can heart their favorite looks.

 AI receipt verification

Sam’s Club unveiled a new application that combines AI and computer vision technology to automatically verify receipts as shoppers exit the store.

Sustainable energy

Currently powering more than 47% of its operations with renewable energy and on track to power more than 50% by 2025 and 100% by 2035, Walmart announced that by the end of 2030, it aims to enable up to 10 gigawatts of new clean energy projects into service on- and off-site – the equivalent of the annual power consumption of more than 2 million households. 

“We build technology to serve people and not the other way around,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Walmart Inc. “Walmart’s purpose is to help people live better and, today, more than ever, advances in technology make it feel like anything is possible. Our technology roadmap is compelling and we’re very excited about it, but we’re clear that we are a people-led, tech-powered company. People, our customers and associates, come first and we’ll put technology to work to serve them better than ever.”   

Headquartered in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart Inc. operates approximately 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites in 19 countries.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds