Technology 2 min read

Walmart Opens its AI-Powered Store to the Public

Jonathan Weiss /

Jonathan Weiss /

Following in Amazon’s footsteps, Walmart just opened its very first AI-powered store. Called the Intelligent Retail Lab, the Neighborhood Walmart is equipped with sensors and cameras controlled by an AI machine to make the store’s operation run smoothly.

Over a year ago, Amazon launched its store of the future, Amazon Go, to provide on-the-go people with a checkout-free shopping experience. The Amazon Go store has no cashiers. People just walk in, take what they need, and walk out of the store.

The AI technology running the store called Just Walk Out takes care of everything. Shoppers must have the Amazon Go smartphone app to enter the store. They scan the items they need using their phone, and it will be automatically charged to their Amazon account.

The cameras inside the store monitor shelves and ensure that there is enough stock of items on display.

Walmart’s AI-Powered Store

Walmart’s AI-powered store in New York operates pretty much the same as Amazon Go. However, Walmart’s Intelligent Retail Lab still has employees manning checkout counters and supervising the floor.

The store is packed with arrays of cameras that use computer vision to help store staff restock empty shelves and keep alleys free of shopping carts.

Also, instead of monitoring the items being bought by customers, Walmart’s AI-powered cameras monitor the store’s inventory and determine whether staff need to restock the shelves or if fresh products have to be pulled out and replaced.

The concept behind Walmart’s AI is to help store employees keep track of items and ensure that products are always fresh, especially meat and vegetables.

According to Walmart, developing an AI that can perform such a task is no easy feat as the system has to learn how to recognize the products it sees, compare the quantities on the shelf, and determine their freshness level.

In a statement, IRL CEO Mike Hanrahan said:

“Technology enables us to understand so much more – in real time – about our business. When you combine all the information we’re gathering in IRL with Walmart’s 50-plus years of expertise in running stores, you can create really powerful experiences that improve the lives of both our customers and associates.”

Read More: Amazon Go, The First Checkout-Free Store, Opens To The Public

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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