Retailers Launch New AI Tech

7-Eleven Japan and Walmart are using AI tools for everything from advertising to inventory alerts.

May 01, 2024

7-Eleven Japan is enhancing its in-store advertising with artificial intelligence (AI), introducing AI-based digital ads at 500 c-store locations, reported IoT World Today.

The retailer is implementing vision detection technology from Sony Semiconductor Solutions (SSS), which uses AI to “detect when a customer sees digital signage, counting how many people stop to look at the advert and how long they spend looking at it. The placement and content of these adverts are then adapted based on this information to increase the reach and impact of in-store advertising,” wrote IoT World Today.

The system does not recognize or identify individuals to ensure customer safety and privacy while collecting information.

Walmart also plans to implement in-store AI that helps track inventory and alert employees to sell something before it goes bad or if would sell faster with a discount, according to CNBC. The program will be piloted in Canada soon.

The new in-store technology, developed internally by Walmart, advises “employees on everything from banana ripening to seasonal fashion that may need to be put on sale before it’s too late,” in an effort to reduce both food and fashion waste.

The AI works like this: an employee scans a banana to see how ripe it is, and then a generative AI dashboard suggests what to do with the product. It could suggest a price change or discount, to send the product back to the vendor or donate the item.

For seasonal clothing, the AI tool can tell an employee if it should be put on sale earlier than planned. The technology seeks to take the decision-making burden off employees so they can quickly decide what to do with an item.

“Using tools like our AI-powered waste management system helps lessen our environment footprint, requiring fewer societal resources and, at the same time, helping to reduce our own operating costs,” said Sravana Karnati, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Walmart international technology, Walmart global tech.