Walmart CEO Doug McMillon highlighted the retailing giant's approach to adaptive retail and how it is applying generative AI across its company and to customers.

Speaking at CES 2024, McMillon said: "We love what technology can do, but we're building it in a way that creates better careers at the same time. It creates better customer experiences and a stronger business."

He said the company has to put humans at the center of its technology investments. Walmart executives highlighted everything from app innovations for its stores as well as Sam's Club. The company also said it is rolling out a generative AI assistant for its associates and how it is leveraging predictive analytics in the supply chain.

Here's a look at Walmart's key points from McMillon's CES 2024 talk.

  • The company outlined My Assistant, a generative AI assistant that rolled out to 50,000 campus associates late year. Now the company is launching in more countries including Canada, Mexico and Chile.
  • Walmart said it is developing generative AI search, built on Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and retail models built by the retailer. These tools will show up in the Shop with Friends feature in the Walmart app and include virtual try-on capabilities. Walmart also highlighted InHome Replenishment, which uses a personalized replenishment algorithm for customers.
  • The company said it will offer drone delivery for up to 75% of the Dallas-Fort Worth population via a partnership with Wing and Zipline.
  • And Sam's Club will offer Scan & Go easy exits as a feature to customers in pilots across 10 Sam's Club locations. Scan & Go has been available to all Sam's Club members. Walmart is enhancing the service with AI and computer vision to enable members to bypass the exit receipt check. 

Suresh Kumar, Walmart's Global CTO, outlined how AI is used in the supply chain. He said:

"A modern supply chain requires a built-in intelligence that can do two things. Number one, it can forecast what customers want and when they want it. And number two, it can orchestrate the movement of very different products that need to be stored in very different ways.

Forecasting customer demand needs to happen very accurately, but far enough out for our suppliers.

We built an industry leading forecasting system that is smart. It's automated and it uses a patent pending machine learning model that predicts customer behavior, and it helps us accurately forecast how much of a product is needed and where. It incorporates dozens of different types of data like historical sales data, but also things like weather forecasts popularity and how an item is trending on social media. We also built artificial intelligence into how we orchestrate the optimal movement of our inventory. The main job is to have the product where our customers needed the most."