Family & Lifestyle

Walmart Keynote at CES 2024: Disruptive Retail Tech

Overview Retail titan Walmart, known worldwide for everyday low prices, is also a world-class technology business. With drone and electric-vehicle deliveries in numerous markets, as well as a team of software engineers, data scientists and other experts at Walmart Global Tech, the company has mastered digital transformation. The Walmart story of tech exploration and industry-altering breakthroughs will take center stage at CES 2024 when CEO Doug McMillon keynotes on the show’s opening day.

Walmart’s message to consumers is straightforward: “Save Money. Live Better.” Behind this maxim is a lot of great tech, as corporate affairs EVP Dan Bartlett said in a statement announcing the keynote at CES 2024. As Walmart continues to apply technology for the good of consumers, associates and the environment, the keynote will explore how AI, robotics and machine learning, among other innovations, are impacting the retail landscape.
This will be McMillon’s second appearance as a CES keynote, having first addressed CES 2021 audiences to discuss the critical role of technology in modernizing the company’s supply chain and tech-stack processes. At that time, he talked of advanced tech adoption, including robotics and artificial intelligence, for improving operations.
“It’s very exciting…our way of working to put technology to work, whether that’s software or the way we use our data or, increasingly, the way we use robotics in our business…There’s a ton of innovation here and it’s moving very quickly,” McMillon said during his CES 2021 keynote.
The company’s commitment to continuous improvement has served it well. Since the first Walmart store opened in 1962 in Rogers, AR, its pro-consumer strategies have put it at the forefront of the retail industry. Today, the company operates about 10,500 stores in markets from the Americas to Africa and Asia, employing more than 2 million people. By helping shoppers across the planet save money on a wide range of quality goods, Walmart grew to 51 stores and a listing on the New York Stock Exchange by its tenth year.
Walmart is now the world’s top retailer with 2023 revenues worldwide exceeding $100 billion. The company attained this status through milestones that include the following.   
  • Installation in 1987 of the largest private satellite communication system in the U.S., linking the company's operations through voice, data and video communication.
  • Commitment to environmental sustainability, stated in a 2005 announcement, that includes regeneration goals and zero-waste creation, as well as selling products that sustain people and the environment. Walmart is on a path to zero emissions by 2040.
  • In 2010, Walmart pledged $2 billion through the end of 2015 to help end hunger in the United States. That promise was accompanied by a global commitment to sustainable agriculture. The objective is to help farmers and economies while keeping affordable and quality food available for consumers.
  • In 2021, Walmart invested in drone delivery, fintech and autonomous vehicles to better serve customers. These networks and fleets continue to grow.  
  • Also in 2021, Walmart announced plans to open dozens of micro-fulfillment centers flanking Supercenters to speed order fulfillment of online purchases available for delivery or store pickup. 
  • In August this year, Walmart announced a partnership with Wing, a drone-delivery provider powered by Google’s parent, Alphabet. Through the alliance, Walmart is upping its game in eco-friendly and highly efficient customer care. Since the company launched drone service in 2021, it has flown goods across seven states and 36 stores, with 10,000 deliveries completed safely.  
  • Walmart is embracing generative AI to simplify associate tasks, and to help shoppers virtually explore how products would look, for example, in a room or when worn. In August and September, Walmart announced and demoed new generative AI tech that’s designed to spare office employees monotonous tasks while affording consumers richer shopping experiences.
What will Walmart do next to disrupt retail? Find out when the company returns to Las Vegas January 9-12. Walmart joins L’Oréal as CES 2024 keynotes, with more announcements to come. Look for the Walmart keynote at 2:00 p.m. PT, January 9, in the Palazzo Ballroom at the Venetian. Register for CES 2024 today.  

This keynote presentation can be viewed on demand here.

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