Inspiration

Walmart stores can be difficult to navigate through- and most customers lose patience- finding what they need. Walmart associates are extremely busy and are not always around to answer customer questions. By texting a simple "hi" to a phone number and a keyword such as "bleach" you can receive the exact physical location of the product in your particular store and check if it is in stock. If you need additional help, you can connect with a store representative. All of this is facilitated easily through SMS. Additionally users will be given the option to download the Walmart mobile app after asking for help.

What it does

When a user texts a designated phone number (different for each store so we know their store location) the user is prompted with the message

“Welcome to Walmart. Please text the name of the product you are looking for and we will tell you where to find it in this store. Please text “help” to be connected to a Walmart associate who can assist you.”

As the user inputs a keyword (such as "clorox bleach") the user get information about whether the product is in stock and where to find the product

"Clorox regular bleach, concentrated, 121 fluid ounces can be found in aisle g.28. It's in stock. Thank you for shopping at Walmart. Download the Walmart app to find and buy quality products at unbeatable prices. http://apple.co/1p1XKCt"

The user can then text "chat" to be connected with a Walmart associate via sma.

How I built it

We used the Walmart Labs API's (physical location, search, and recommendations) with Twilio and a Flask-based API (hosted on Azure) to create an SMS-based product search and support line.

Challenges I ran into

One potential challenge if this is rolled out in Walmart stores is figuring out how to deploy multiple chat requests to talk to a customer service associate. This problem can be solved by having one designed Walmart associate being on duty on the SMS line at each store(and with the new “bring your own device program” associates can use their personal cell phones at work) . It can also be solved by connecting chat requests to Walmart service agents at Walmart support centers if there is no customer service associate on duty avaliable.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of:

Walmart Simple Text can help Walmart customers with the following

Can track usage of feature Can save time and money on hiring service associates because of automatic response. Can provide faster assistance to customers SMS is very basic phone functionality and easy for customers to understand and use

What I learned

We learned that Walmart Labs has a great API that is kept up to date with a lot of rich and useful information that is easy to implement.

What's next for Walmart Simple Text

Targeting customers with in-store promotions (coupons) associated with keywords they search for (i.e. typing in the keyword "dogfood" will not only show available dogfood at their store but also what the prices are and current discounts)

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