Walmart uses AI to streamline in-store shopping for produce in China

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Walmart uses AI to streamline in-store shopping for produce in China

By Dan Berthiaume - 05/01/2020

Walmart China is deploying self-service smart scales in select stores.

Walmart’s China operation is initially implementing the AI-powered Retail AIFresh self-service scale solution from Malong Technologies at 100 stores. Malong participates in Omega 8, a communication platform designed to connect Walmart and innovative technology companies to develop scalable technology solutions which deliver rapid value.

During use, customers place bagged items (e.g. fruits, vegetables and other loose/dry goods) on the scale and the RetailAI Fresh system identifies the product without any change to customer or shopping behavior. Customers are provided with a "one-tap" ready-ranked list to select on-screen to print a payment label.

To protect customer privacy, the camera involved points downward, only capturing the produce placed on the scale within its field of view, not the shopper. Since the system is based on self-learning, all data processing is done automatically by the system itself.

According to Walmart, customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, reducing the average time to weigh and, in turn, eliminating customer queues during peak hours. According to data from 10 Walmart stores running live in China, average weighing time was reduced by approximately 40%, further resulting in high customer satisfaction and increased overall transactions. 

Walmart has previously launched self-service fresh produce scales in certain stores. However, with conventional self-service scales, customers often needed to click through several screens to identify the correct product among hundreds of possible options. This was often confusing and led to customers requiring associate assistance to successfully complete the weighing process.

"For Walmart, innovation is in our DNA, and we are actively embracing innovation from beginning to end. Omega 8 acts as a bridge between technology companies and Walmart to jointly create technical solutions that can solve for the pain points of retail," said Ella Chan, VP, strategy and innovation at Walmart, in a public speech.