Artificial intelligence may not be a new thing in eCommerce, what with e-tailers of all sizes maximizing its use to boost their profits.
AI’s specific role in physical stores, however, hasn’t been determined yet until Walmart transformed its 50,000-square-foot Neighborhood Market in Levittown, New York into what it calls the Intelligent Retail Lab (IRL).
Equipped with 100 servers that have over 400 graphics processing units (GPUs), 10 cooling towers, cameras, sensors, and real-time analytics software, the new store focuses on monitoring inventory and making sure that items are always available for Walmart’s in-store and online customers.
The IRL technology automatically detects which shelves in the store need to be replenished or replaced with new items, and then it notifies the staff.
Walmart as a vanguard of future retail
IRL speeds up the work of its employees because they would know in an instant what to get from the stockroom even before anyone has placed an order for it. What’s more, the technology gives them more time to engage with customers.
“The point of having AI in the retail environment is to really understand what we can do for our customers and associates. Customers can be confident about products being there, about the freshness of produce and meat. Our contention in the IRL is that AI is going to be a transformer of retail as eCommerce was.” – Mike Hanrahan, CEO, IRL
Walmart’s IRL comes with touchscreen information stations to help customers understand the store’s new technology and offerings.
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