April 15, 2024

Walmart is getting into artificial intelligence. Well, it’s at least planning to sell the software tied to it.

The software, which the the big box retailer said it’s been building and testing in-house for the past two and a half years, will reduce the time it takes the companies it partners with to deliver its goods.

The AI-powered software improves navigation routes and will help trucks make their store deliveries on schedule.

Anshu Bhardwaj, Walmart’s chief operating officer for its global technology and commerce technology divisions, said the retailer wants to put its findings into practice.

“We want to empower those businesses with the same technologies that have been running at scale at Walmart,” Bhardwaj, who is also senior vice president, said.

Prices of the software will be different for each of its company customers, Bhardwaj said, adding that volume and frequency will be taken into account.

The new software may be just Walmart’s bid at keeping the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company competitive as it looks to stave off competition from rival giants like Amazon and Target.

This isn’t Walmart’s first foray into AI. In October 2023, the company said it had been testing an AI-powered reality app that would improve shelf restocking time.

In March, Walmart launched an early morning delivery service. The paid option gives customers the ability to order their groceries as early as 6am.

It hasn’t all been expansion. In February, Walmart suffered an internal computer glitch that prevented thousands of its locations from being able to take payments, and forcing six of its locations to cut operations altogether.

That hasn’t deterred the 61-year-old retailer. Earlier that month, Walmart said it would be acquiring consumer electronics company Vizio in a $2.3 billion deal with the goal to “serve customers in a new ways,” and simultaneously, opening the door for advertising opportunities with partners.

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