Walmart Can Now Ask Sam its COVID-19 Questions

Lisa Johnston
Managing Editor
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Walmart is bringing its Ask Sam machine learning-powered voice assistant app over from Sam’s Club, and has expanded its capabilities to include details about COVID-19.

First deployed at Sam’s Club last year, Ask Sam was developed to help associates quickly locate answers for everyday job tasks. Users can speak or type questions and find information on such things as store maps, pricing, product locations, store sales, printing and birthdays, and they can also check their email.

Over the past few months, associates have also gained access to information and videos about COVID-19, including the latest guidelines and guidance.

The app’s machine learning capabilities enable it to become more sophisticated with increased accuracy over time. No. 1 retailer Walmart conducts a manual review of the questions asked in order to ID patterns and trends to update the app and adjust operations in the store.

A one-press Emergency Alert button in Ask Sam, meanwhile, delivers instructive lockdown, evacuation and all-clear notifications to all associates on and off the clock, delivered through multiple associate applications.

The app is just another example of retailers evolving to meet the needs of today’s new consumer, representing the future of retail, Arsen Avakian, Cooler Screens co-founder and CEO, noted to RIS.

“Retailers must meet the demands of today’s digitally savvy consumers bringing what they love about shopping online into the brick-and-mortar stores,” said Avakian. “They must also adapt to the pandemic-driven requirement for contactless shopping experiences putting both employees' and consumers' safety first.”

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