Walmart Rolling Out AI Solution For On-Shelf Availability

Walmart’s operation in Canada is getting an automated AI (Artificial Intelligence) assisted system to improve product availability. Following a 70-store pilot, a solution from Focal Systems that uses cameras to automate out-of-stock detection is rolling out to all stores in the country. The technology, which is integrated with the retailer’s existing inventory systems, automatically detects real-time availability concerns (out-of-stock or low-stock) and directs store teams to replenish in key departments like grocery, pets, health & beauty, frozen, and dairy.

Walmart stated that it is one of the first retailers in Canada to deploy an AI solution for on-shelf availability, which it claims has been a “game-changer” for its staff and customers. “We know it can be disappointing for customers when we don’t have products they want available on our shelves. That’s why we initiated this pilot using technology from Focal Systems that takes the guesswork out of knowing when a product is out of stock,” said Robin DeMers, Director, Store Optimization.

“This leading-edge technology provides real-time, automated alerts for replenishment in key priority areas within our stores. It also empowers our associates with cool tech that makes a big difference in the way they are able to work and provide the best possible customer experience.” How the system works:

  1. Computer vision cameras are installed in popular areas throughout the store, pointed directly at shelves.

    At pre-determined intervals, the cameras scan the shelves.

  2. When a product goes out-of-stock, it will trigger replenishment through Walmart’s existing inventory systems.
  3. A staff member will receive the alert and re-stock the shelf as soon as possible.

“With this bold step, Walmart is driving this industry forward in AI-adoption and retail automation, challenging the status-quo on availability, customer experience, and employee satisfaction,” said Francois Chaubard, CEO, Focal Systems.

“Walmart is raising the bar, and we are inspired to help in any way we can.

Focal is thrilled to be a key part of Walmart’s store digitisation efforts nationwide!”