Walmart’s “Ask Sam” voice assistant technology, which was developed for Sam’s Club and rolled out last year, is now being expanded. The company has today announced that it will be rolled out to all the associates across 5,000 Walmart stores nationwide.
The “Ask Sam” tool will now allow employees to look up prices, access store maps, find products, view sales information, check email and more. It can also be used to access COVID-19 information, including latest guidelines, guidance and safety videos.
Along with retrieving information, Ask Sam can also be used by employees with printing, email or viewing staff birthdays or other events. It also includes an “Emergency Alert” feature that allows managers to quickly and efficiently alter employees in a situation of emergency.
The company has added that the technology has been built using machine learning so that “Ask Sam” will get smarter and more accurate over time with usage. Also, the team manually reviews questions being asked to help find patterns and trends.
This seems like yet another step by Walmart to take on Amazon, which already has its Alexa voice assistant. However, the difference is that Ask Sam is being used internally by the company while Amazon’s Alexa is available to customers.
A few years ago, Walmart had partnered with Google on voice-based shopping through Google Home devices, before Google Express service shut down. This was similar to Alexa which enables used to do voice-based shopping through Amazon.
Although the “Ask Sam” is limited to internal use right now, there’s a possibility that the company could roll out a version of this for retail customers. However, there’s no confirmation about the same from Walmart.