How Walmart is Using A.I. To Make Smarter Substitutions in Online Grocery Orders
Walmart News | June 24, 2021
Amidst the pandemic, Americans’ shopping behavior shifted radically. Customers increasingly began shopping online for everyday needs, including food and groceries. The surge in demand presented a unique challenge to retailers as the combination of in-store shoppers and online volume meant some popular items could quickly sell out. Walmart’s solution uses artificial intelligence to help both customers and Personal Shoppers choose the best substitute for an out-of-stock item.
The decision on how to substitute is complex and highly personal to each customer. If the wrong choice is made, it can negatively impact customer satisfaction and increase costs.
To help ensure a substitution that will result in a happy customer, Walmart's team created a technology solution to help identify the next best item for customers if an item they selected is out of stock.
The built tech uses deep learning AI to consider hundreds of variables like size, type, price, aggregate shopper data in real time to determine the best next available item. It then preemptively asks the customer to approve the substituted item or skip it, a signal that’s fed back into learning algorithms to improve future recommendations. Following the deployment of this tech, customer acceptance of substitutions has increased to over 95%.