Next time you visit a Walmart store in the US, do experience the latest technology that the retail giant has to offer using Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI). For example, instead of searching for various things to host a party, a customer can just search for a ‘football watch party’ and discover all the items they want. This eliminates numerous searches. GenAI is capable of generating text, images or other data using generative models, often in response to prompts.

Doing such latest technologies are engineers at the Walmart Global Technology (WGT) centres in Chennai and Bengaluru in conjunction with the company’s other technology global centres, including the US, said Suresh Kumar, Global Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Development Officer (CDO), Walmart Inc. “All projects are a result of deep collaboration between Walmart Global Tech teams in India and in the U.S.,” he told businessline during his recent visit to Chennai.

Tech leverage

WGT engineers, across the globe, are leveraging the latest technologies to deliver “Adaptive Retail”—a new world of retail that is customer-centric, interconnected and frictionless, Kumar said. WGT has partnered with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) to establish the Walmart Centre for Tech Excellence to empower Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the manufacturing and retail sectors. Kumar was in Chennai to launch the centre.

“GenAI search accounts for a variety of other factors, such as location, search history and other contextual information. We use a combination of Walmart proprietory data and technology and large language models,” he said.

Walmart has been using Machine Learning and AI for a long time to enhance customer experience and personalisation as well as more in the back end on optimising the supply chain and predicting demand using AI and ML. GenAI is the next step, and Walmart has focussed on four different areas with the first being improving and enhancing customer experience. The second is improving the overall operations right from demand forecasting, supply chain to how the associates are working inside.


Third area is how GenAI can help in creating personalised content around marketing, advertising or even products. For instance, Walmart recently launched AI-based technology that allows a customer to look at what a piece of cloth would look like on him/her. This is an example of using AI to create personalised content.

The fourth area is on building software itself, he said.

The new centre at IIT Madras is the next step in the company’s collaboration with the institute. Two years ago, Walmart announced its collaboration with IIT Madras focussed on research and talent, faculty. However, the new centre is focussed on helping MSME and is in sync with Walmart’s overall vision of participating in growth of the Indian economy, he said.