Walmart’s Doug McMillon speaks about ‘invisible’ tech that improves customer experiences
The second edition of Converge @ Walmart 2022 brought together entrepreneurs, academia, industry experts and Walmart global leaders to help reimagine the future of retail tech. This flagship event of Walmart Global Tech was curated in association with PhonePe, India's largest digital payments platform.
The hybrid tech event featured sessions with many notable industry leaders, including Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart Inc. He spoke about how Walmart Global Tech is leveraging next-gen technology to transform Walmart into the shopping destination of choice.
“We have a simple but powerful purpose at Walmart to help people save money and live better. And we bring that purpose to life every day for about 230 million customers and members every week around the world,” mentioned Doug as he spoke about how bringing customer delight and convenience to the world's largest retailer requires rapid and seamless innovation.
“One of the keys to delivering on that purpose is how we build and deploy technology across our business,” he said, adding that the tech teams play an important role in creating the experiences and capabilities that allow Walmart’s customers and members to interact with them and access the things customers need.
How ‘Element’ democratises access to AI/ML initiatives
“One innovation we worked on at Walmart that's invisible to our customers but works 24/7 to help improve the experience they have with us, is called Element,” revealed Doug.
Element, he explained, brings together data and various AI and ML technologies. It creates an integrated development environment where disparate teams can work together and address practical problems, including aisle assortment, wait-time at stores, and personalisation.
“Our global tech team in India built this intelligent and collaborative platform to democratise access to all of the AI and machine learning initiatives within Walmart, giving our engineers access to problem solving tools,” he said, explaining that it made Walmart’s customers’ and associates’ lives easier.
“It's helping us move fast, and with purpose,” he further added.
Leverage tech to make the world a better place
Doug also offered attendees a three-point system that could serve as a tech North Star to retail tech organisations in their effort to make the world a better place. “First, using technology should be simple – that’s true whether you're a retailer delivering groceries into a customer's fridge, or you are building an app or making it easier to access healthcare. Second, it needs to move fast, because our world is moving fast. Third, it should enable us to do things we've never done before,” he said.
Doug also elaborated on how the retail tech innovators have new tools that could solve some of the challenges in the retail industry today, such as automating supply chains, getting goods and services to people in hard-to-reach places or reducing the impact on the environment.
“Maintain a problem-solving mindset. Ask yourself and your teams – What are the biggest challenges your business and your people on our planet are facing, and how can we use tech to solve those problems?”
he concluded, adding that he couldn’t wait to see what the ecosystem would do next.
To watch the keynote address by Doug McMillon and other insightful sessions by industry leaders,