Top Tech Innovations at Walmart

An exclusive interview with Walmart’s VP of Digital Acceleration for eCommerce

On March 10, 2018, Softvision hosted a panel at the Retail Innovation Lounge at SXSW in Austin, TX. Among other innovation thought leaders, we were lucky to be joined by Kate Pearson, Walmart’s VP of Digital Acceleration for eCommerce.

We had the chance to interview Kate and get her thoughts on some of today’s biggest retail innovations and how Walmart is harnessing the technology.

What are the biggest retail innovations out there?

“What’s fascinating is that technology is moving at such an incredible pace. And so organizations are trying to quickly figure out how to harness the best technology, where to invest money, time and people to ensure that they get all the goodness out of what’s out there. I think right now the biggest innovation is about selecting the right tech, finding the right tech, and then finding the right people to institute that at their organization.”

Is there anything that you’ve instituted that’s had a really big impact?

“One of the things we’ve been focused on at Walmart over the last year is really figuring out… not how to bring technology to consumers…but really thinking about technology and how it can be brought to them in their homes, as well as in the stores. And so what we’re thinking about – you know, we have a significant advantage of amazing associates that serve our customers every day in stores – and so what we like to do is try to remove any kind of friction or noise out of the shopping experience, just to make it easier and better for them.”

So, you’re really empowering your associates.

“Exactly! So when we think about things like how we help with stock in our stores, and how we can help people that are making things in stock, or we think about…how we look at setting up our end caps and organizing the store, we look at things that we can do to help our associates not need to do some of those pieces. So we’ve got things like robotics deployed, where robots will actually go and scan for outs and let people know where there’s issues. We’re looking at using technology to kind of communicate broadly what’s happening in terms of what’s in stock and what’s out of stock, so that we can quickly get back in stock. And then we’re also looking at all of the mobile app technology that we have for our customers and what we can do to make it easier. So one of the things we just launched that I’m really excited about is mapping technology. So if you go into some of our stores today, they are enormous, and if you’re looking for the toothpicks or the Velveeta cheese or the pop sockets…where the heck are they? And so being able to have your mobile phone, which is in your pocket, pull it out and have it bring you within a four-foot section of where that is in the store? It’s really exciting for our customers.”

Kate goes on to share her insights and opinions into face recognition, voice technology, and in-home delivery. To watch the full interview, click here.

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  • Eugenia Urdaneta
    Posted at 15:36h, 13 June Reply

    Thank you to the Softvision team for interviewing Kate Pearson, and sharing it with us.
    It is true that technology is advancing in a fast pace, and therefore the selection of the right technology is extremely important to integrate ecommerce into retailers.
    A mapping system is the best way to get the customer to maximize their experience in the store. It’s a way of abolishing human error and offering an easy and quick way for the customer to find what he/she wants.
    In my personal experience, this article made me remember going to a place called Artechouse in Washington, D.C.
    Artechouse is known for being and Art Center, and once you are inside you experience the beauty of art and technology working together.
    The associates recommended me to download the app to have a better experience. I downloaded it, and the first task it made me do was to “take a picture of the wall art”. I took the picture and immediately I was interacting with my iPhone and the place.
    I wanted to mention this because future generations will go to stores for fun. We live in a world where we can buy anything online. However, what makes us come back to the brick and mortars?
    Customers want to see the product, they want to have the shopping experience, they want to get distracted and enjoy it.
    We have to understand that online shopping is great, is simple and fast. But, brick and mortar retailers have an immense competitive advantage. Brick and mortar retailers can maximize the potential of user experience.

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