The recently concluded Converge @ Walmart 2022, touted to be one of the biggest retail tech events of the year, brought together more than 8,000 attendees and over 60 speakers to deliberate on key themes transforming the retail landscape.
The various sessions – from keynotes and firesides to panel discussions and masterclasses – saw speakers delve deep into insightful topics across product, platform, services and technological advancements that are helping reimagine retail. Here are some of the insights from Walmart leaders at the event.
Leveraging next-gen technology to transform Walmart
To be a pioneer in the world of retail technology means bringing about customer delight and convenience in the most innovative and impactful way. That includes constantly reimagining retail tech with futuristic and innovative shopping experiences. To that effect, Walmart’s technology-first products and solutions powered by Walmart Global Tech, caters to millions of customers’ needs while saving them time and money.
Delivering the welcome address at the Converge Curtain Raiser, Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart, spoke about how Walmart Global Tech is leveraging next-gen technology to transform Walmart into the shopping destination of choice.
“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.
India’s role in enabling the global retail landscape
Judith McKenna, President and CEO, Walmart International spoke about how Walmart is powering strong local businesses, building a digitally connected shopping ecosystem supporting customers and associates around the globe, and creating new opportunities for Indian companies to grow as part of its global supply chains.
“We’re creating new opportunities for Indian companies to grow as part of our global supply chains, by expanding our Made in India exports commitment to $10 billion each year by 2027, which in turn helps drive the broader economy,” she added.
Judith also spoke about the role that global tech is playing to help Walmart reimagine retail and services across the 24 countries in which it does business.
“We’re building on what we’ve learned here in India, creating opportunities and access for customers and businesses that they never had before. And India has a unique role to play in the global economy,” she said.
How Walmart Global Tech is transforming the way people shop
“This is a very exciting time for both retail tech and for the tech industry in India,” said Suresh Kumar, EVP – CTO & CDO, Walmart Global Tech, while delivering his keynote address as part of the curtain raiser at Converge @ Walmart 2022 and providing fascinating insights into how Walmart Global Tech is transforming the way people shop in Walmart.
“Retailers are reimagining everything from supply chain and retail operations to customer and associate experiences. Technologists across India are driving this transformation, both at home and in markets around the world,” he added.
“At Walmart, we are leveraging emerging tech to change how the world shops. We are applying data science in new and smart ways to make faster decisions. We are using AI, voice and edge computing to help our store associates serve customers in impactful ways. Our cybersecurity team is developing solutions to protect customers and earn their trust. And we are running a tech stack that includes one of the largest hybrid clouds in existence,” he added.
Empowering Walmart with tech-focused innovations
Since inception, Walmart has been at the forefront to provide customers with impeccable services. At his keynote, Hari Vasudev, SVP & Country Head, Walmart Global Tech talked about how Global Tech associates use emerging technologies such as Cloud, AI, ML, and Data to roll out innovative solutions to deliver and enhance customer experience.
“90 percent of the population in the U.S. live within 10 miles of a Walmart store. […] Walmart Global Tech is working towards creating limitless retail possibilities for our customers. […] What we do as a tech team creates epic impact at every touch point of Walmart’s retail value chain,” he said.
Building solutions that solves for ‘Bharat’
Converge, which was created in association with PhonePe, India’s largest digital payments platform, also featured Rahul Chari, CTO and Co-founder, PhonePe delivering a keynote on ‘Building solutions that solves for Bharat’.
Digital payments have seen massive growth in the country over the last few years. While Tier I cities have led to the adoption of digital payments due to better internet infrastructure, higher digital penetration, and awareness, this growth is now no longer confined to the country’s top cities. Besides delving into what was driving growth in India’s smaller cities, Rahul also spoke about the role of tech in building digital payments solutions for Bharat.
“Simplicity, scalability and trust become the three tenets on which to build payments for ‘Bharat’, but I genuinely believe that this applies to any product that […] has to have the kind of reach that you need to build for India,” he said.
“Open protocols are the future, especially in a country like India. If […] India needs to leapfrog, […] it happens only through open protocols, where a lot of people can participate. You drive more partnerships and then start building the ecosystem,” he added.
Access the Converge @ Walmart 2022 archives
Missed out on registering for Converge @ Walmart 2022? You could still catch the archived sessions from the event,