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10/29/2021

Walmart Taps Facial-Recognition Tech for New Retail Experience

Learn how Walmart is tapping facial-recognition technology and other connected commerce experiences this holiday season to “make the holiday research and shopping experience fun again.”
Jamie Grill-Goodman
Senior Editor
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Walmart teamed up with Facebook to launch the AR lens retail experience, which combines facial-recognition AR with Walmart’s product assortment.

Walmart is offering shoppers several connected commerce experiences this holiday season through its “Joy. Fully” campaign, including tapping facial-recognition technology for shopping.

The retailer teamed up with Facebook to launch the AR lens retail experience, which combines facial-recognition AR with Walmart’s product assortment. The goal: “make the holiday research and shopping experience fun again.”

“Customers can use this interactive experience to browse holiday gift ideas from brands like Google, Nintendo, The LEGO Group, Samsung and Straight Talk Wireless, and use nothing but their facial expressions to identify which items spark joy for them,” said Kara Rousseau, VP, marketing, Walmart Connect.

Shoppers can then go from the AR lens directly to Walmart’s Gift Finder experience to shop those products.

Other techy parts of the campaign include shoppable Livestreams, which Walmart first experimented with on TikTok last December and again in March for its Spring Shop-Along: Beauty Edition.

“We continue to innovate and chart new territory with shoppable livestreaming,” said Rousseau. “With promising engagement, increasing viewership and positive shop signals, Walmart will continue to inspire shoppers this holiday with a series of on- and off-platform shoppable livestreams with various publishers, well-known influencers, and more.

Walmart has also co-created shoppable experiences on Pinterest for the first large-scale launch of shoppable recipes with supplier partners like General Mills, Kraft and PepsiCo. The initiative, dubbed “Taste. Fully” as part of Walmart’s “Joy. Fully” campaign, gives customers the ability to add a recipe-worth of ingredients to their Walmart cart and purchase in just a few clicks.

Through the exclusive Pinterest Trend Badge program – which taps into high-growth searches with the official Pinterest stamp of approval – Walmart Connect is promoting shoppable recipes.

Through the exclusive Pinterest Trend Badge program – which taps into high-growth searches with the official Pinterest stamp of approval – Walmart Connect is promoting these shoppable recipes to inspire pinners with the most relevant and of-the-moment seasonal ideas, like “easy bite-size desserts” which are up 462% year over year, said Rousseau.

Earlier this year Walmart renamed its media business Walmart Connect (formerly known as Walmart Media Group)Walmart Connect recently published its holiday playbook for advertisers, in which it notes 66% of Walmart shoppers plan to be more thoughtful about the gifts they give this year, and 67% plan to cook more meals from scratch to celebrate this season’s holidays.

[See more: RIS' 2021 Holiday Retail Forecasts and Predictions Guide]

Rousseau said brands who partner with Walmart Connect for their holiday campaigns “can expect to experience incredible performance during the season,” as Walmart’s Q4 2020 campaigns in the Food, Apparel, Consumables and Toys categories saw 13% higher reach and achieved 20% higher ROAS compared to a non-holiday quarter.

“With our newly expanded capabilities, partnerships, supplier integrations and customer activations, we’re excited to unlock an even wider range of omnichannel touch points this holiday to connect brands with customers through innovative technologies and inspiring social content,” she said.

Walmart Responds to Whole Foods Fee

In other news, in response to Amazon-owned Whole Foods adding a new $9.95 delivery fee on orders placed through Amazon Prime as of October 25th, Walmart announced that new customers who sign up for Walmart+ will get $9.95 back. The promo ran for just one day but was a clear shot at the grocery retailer. Walmart’s email to customers read:

“Because customers deserve a grocery delivery service that won’t leave a Whole in their wallet for delivery fees - whoops, typo.

[See also: 3 Ways Walmart Just Expanded Delivery]

Amazon previously offered free two-hour delivery for Prime members. Walmart+ launched late last year. Walmart+ members have access to unlimited free deliveries and can pay a $10 fee for two-hour Express delivery.