Walmart Canada is leaning on automated artificial intelligence to ensure its shelves stay stocked and consumers have an elevated experience regardless of whether they’re shopping in-store or online.
The Canada-wide launch follows the success of a 70-store pilot that equipped locations with an AI-based computer vision platform from Focal Solutions. The technology uses cameras to automatically detect out-of-stocks.
Integrated into Walmart’s existing inventory systems, the technology also highlights any real-time availability concerns such as low-stocked items.
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How does it work? Computer vision cameras installed throughout the store point directly at shelves and continuously scan to identify gaps and opportunities for replenishment. Associates are then alerted to re-stock the shelf as soon as possible.
“We know it can be disappointing for customers when we don’t have products they want available on our shelves. That’s why we initiated this pilot using technology from Focal Systems that takes the guesswork out of knowing when a product is out of stock,” said Robin DeMers, director of store optimization at Walmart.
“This leading-edge technology provides real-time, automated alerts for replenishment in key priority areas within our stores. It also empowers our associates with cool tech that makes a big difference in the way they are able to work and provide the best possible customer experience,” added DeMers.
Megan Osborne, a store manager at the Walmart Heartland Supercentre, one of the pilot locations, said her associates are excited to work with technology, which simplifies their work and is a “game-changer” in her store.
"With this bold step, Walmart is driving this industry forward in AI-adoption and retail automation, challenging the status-quo on availability, customer experience, and employee satisfaction,” said Francois Chaubard, CEO of Focal Systems.