“Voice assistants, augmented reality will transform retail”

“Voice assistants like SIRI and Google Assistant, and AR / VR (augmented reality, virtual reality) will drive the next major changes in the retail industry,” he said Suresh Kumar, Executive Vice President, Global CTO and CEO of Development of Walmart.

Augmented reality will become a natural way for customers to experience the items they want to try and buy, Kumar said. Voice assistants, which combine voice recognition, language processing algorithms and speech synthesis, will have applications for customers as well as for retail employees on tasks such as locating products faster, he added.

Walmart ‘s CTO, 56, highlighted the progress made by the Retail giant $ 559.2 billion in the last two years.

“We started by making sure we have the infrastructure that allows for rapid innovation and rapid, large-scale testing,” Kumar told Shereen Bhan, managing editor of CNBC-TV18, at Converge @ Walmart, a virtual conference on retail technology, organized last week by Walmart Global Tech India.

“Even before COVID arrived, we had embarked on a journey to build a technology stack that will allow us to innovate“He started with a hybrid cloud infrastructure to make the most of Walmart ‘s public cloud and private data centers,” he added.

“The hybrid cloud allows us to leverage all of that data and reason it through ML, (and) advanced analysis,” Kumar said. “We try to invest in those areas where we have an excessive impact, while continuing to modernize and drive innovation.”

Kumar joined Walmart in 2019 and has previously worked with tech giants Google, Microsoft and Amazon. He highlighted the role of data in faster decision-making at Walmart.

“The data we obtain from the execution of ours supply chain and transportation systems, even understanding how our customers interact with us and what matters to them, helps nurture the customer experience, ”Kumar stated.

He illustrated the efficiencies enabled by the technologies by citing a machine learning (ML) model that helped Walmart optimize the prices and timing of Walmart’s clothing division, which saves $ 30 million and replaces seasonal clothing faster.

“We have built an ML model to understand the best way to be able to reduce reductions in the most localized way possible,” he said.

The ML model took into account variables such as U.S. locations, climate by region, and customer preferences. “As a retailer, we have to make sure we optimize our price. When we have to make room, we have to move our existing inventory. Normally, this process is laborious and manual,” Kumar explained.

The human being is not able to optimize more than two or three variables, but ML systems optimize millions of variables, “he said.

Kumar’s appointment at Walmart has led to better integration of the company presence of brick and mortar with their assets online across geographies.

Last year, the company introduced Walmart + to the US market, a subscription offering with omnichannel shopping perks, such as unlimited free shipping for selected items, unlimited in-store delivery, fuel discounts, and mobile scanning for in-store shoppers.

Kumar has also pushed Walmart Global Tech working more quickly and collaboratively in different regions, including India, to cross-pollinate the learnings of a geography with other relevant markets or companies. Walmart Global Tech India has more than 7,500 employees.

“The underlying technology (in any market) has a lot in common,” Kumar said. “We have tried to build the common building blocksand then customize the solutions to the specific business problem we are trying to solve in a market, ”he said.

“Basically, we are really able to help people save money and lead a better life,” Kumar said. “To do it, we need to understand what their needs are and what matters to them. We make sure that our business, whether supply chain, marketing or associated experience, is optimized to be able to fulfill this mission correctly. “

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