With humble beginnings as a simple discount retailer, today, Walmart operates in 10,500 stores and clubs in 24 countries and eCommerce websites, employing around 2.2 million people around the globe. For the fiscal year ended January 31, 2021, Walmart's total revenue was $559 billion showing a growth of $35 billion with the expansion of the eCommerce sector. Walmart is a data-driven company that works on the principle of 'Everyday low cost' for its consumers. To achieve this goal, they heavily depend on the advances of their data science and analytics department for research and development, also known as Walmart Labs. Walmart is home to the world's largest private cloud, which can manage 2.5 petabytes of data every hour! To analyze this humongous amount of data, Walmart has created 'Data Café,' a state-of-the-art analytics hub located within its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters. The Walmart Labs team heavily invests in building and managing technologies like cloud, data, infrastructure, and security.
Walmart is experiencing massive digital growth as the world's largest retailer. Walmart has been leveraging Big data and advances in data science to build solutions to enhance, optimize and customize the shopping experience and serve their customers in a better way. Learn more about descriptive data analytics by reading Dr.Anubha Walia's book.
At Walmart Labs, data scientists are focused on creating data-driven solutions that power the efficiency and effectiveness of complex supply chain management processes. Here are some of the applications of data science at Walmart:
i) Personalized Customer Shopping Experience
Walmart analyses customer preferences and shopping patterns to optimize the stocking and displaying of merchandise in their stores. Analysis of Big data also helps them understand new item sales, make decisions on discontinuing products, and the performance of brands.
ii) Order Sourcing and On-Time Delivery Promise
Millions of customers view items on Walmart.com, and Walmart provides each customer a real-time estimated delivery date for the items purchased. Walmart runs a backend algorithm that estimates this based on the distance between the customer and the fulfillment center, inventory levels, and shipping methods available. The supply chain management system determines the optimum fulfillment center based on distance and inventory levels for every order. It also has to decide on the shipping method to minimize transportation costs while meeting the promised delivery date.
iii) Packing Optimization
Also known as Box recommendation is a daily occurrence in the shipping of items in retail and eCommerce business. When items of an order or multiple orders for the same customer are ready for packing, Walmart has developed a recommender system that picks the best-sized box which holds all the ordered items with the least in-box space wastage within a fixed amount of time. This Bin Packing problem is a classic NP-Hard problem familiar to data scientists.
Whenever items of an order or multiple orders placed by the same customer are picked from the shelf and are ready for packing, the box recommendation system determines the best-sized box to hold all the ordered items with a minimum of in-box space wasted. This problem is known as the Bin Packing Problem, another classic NP-Hard problem familiar to data scientists.
Here is a link to a sales prediction project to help you understand the applications of Data Science in the real world. Walmart Sales Forecasting Project uses historical sales data for 45 Walmart stores located in different regions. Each store contains many departments, and you must build a model to project the sales for each department in each store. This data science project aims to create a predictive model to predict the sales of each product. You can also try your hands-on Inventory Demand Forecasting Data Science Project to develop a machine learning model to forecast inventory demand accurately based on historical sales data.