Understanding the Shift to AI-Powered Shopping

The marketing landscape is undergoing a monumental shift due to the integration of AI in consumers online shopping journeys. Here’s how big retailers are climbing on board.

As we enter 2024, the marketing landscape is undergoing a monumental shift due to the integration of AI in consumers online shopping journeys. For marketers, this year marks a critical juncture because embracing AI is no longer a futuristic concept. It’s a present necessity for brands to remain competitive, especially on leading retailer platforms like Walmart and Amazon who are making a big push into AI-powered shopping.

Generative and conversational AI are significantly altering the customer experience on e-commerce platforms, and these advancements will reshape the way customers discover, consider, and make purchases, through more personalized and efficient AI powered shopping experiences. For those that might be overwhelmed by everything AI, here’s what Walmart and Amazon, two retailers I’m confident you frequent, are climbing on board.

How Walmart is Integrating AI in the consumer experience

– Walmart is introducing an advanced AI powered search engine, allowing customers to conduct broad searches like “What do I need for a Super Bowl party?” or “Help me plan a unicorn-themed party for my daughter” and receive a curated list of relevant items, simplifying what used to be a multistep process into a single, streamlined search. This use of AI not only makes the search process more efficient but also more intuitive, aligning more closely with natural human behavior and preferences.

– Another innovative AI initiative by Walmart is the “InHome Replenishment” service, which uses AI algorithms to anticipate customer needs based on purchasing habits, that aims to automatically order the right stuff at the right time, and hand it off to a delivery person who can drop things off at your door or even in your fridge. The service represents a significant leap in making shopping more predictive and responsive to individual consumer patterns.

– Moreover, Walmart has been investing in different ways that bring their products to life for consumers virtually. This includes their Virtual Try-On technology for fashion and cosmetics, which offers a more immersive experience for customers to see how clothing and makeup will look on them; and the Home AR feature, allowing customers to virtually place home goods items in their living spaces. Not to mention a new partnership with Unity that integrates immersive commerce with Walmart items into games and apps.

How Amazon is introducing a variety of new AI driven enhancements including:

– As described in The Verge, “Amazon is testing a new AI feature in its mobile apps for iOS and Android that lets customers ask specific questions about products. The AI tool can help figure out exactly how big a new shelf is, determine how long a battery will last, or even… write you a Christmas carol about snow boots.”

– Amazon has also been rolling out a generative image AI tool that makes it easy for sellers to customize product images without engaging creatives or buying stock photography, greatly simplifying the process of creating an ad or product listing that makes products look great and align with users lifestyles.


People are calling on Costco to step up its AI efforts and streamline a lot of its processes (i.e. that receipt checkout line can be long!). In next week’s blog post, I will take a look at what the major challenges are for marketers and what the top five actions brands should consider taking now, in order to adapt and thrive to these revolutionary changes. Stay tuned!