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07/13/2022

Walmart expands online Spanish search capability

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart is reaching out to Spanish-speaking online shoppers.

Walmart is making digital product discovery easier for Spanish-speaking customers.

The discount giant is expanding the Spanish language search capability on its Walmart.com e-commerce site. This move follows the 2021 launch of a search translation feature on Walmart.com and in the Walmart app, which enabled customers to search in Spanish for commonly purchased items.

The new Spanish translation solution, built by Walmart Global Tech associates, uses natural language processing (NLP) to detect language, discern nuances and translate queries to deliver what the retailer intends to be a seamless, intuitive experience for customers. Currently, Walmart translates more than 600,000 of the most frequently searched items online into Spanish, and is adding more products every day.

In July 2021, Walmart started offering customers the ability to opt-in or out of the translated Spanish-language search query. Here’s an example of how the feature works:

  • A customer searches for “leche,” Spanish for “milk.”
  • The search results page serves items based on the English translation of the word, and then displays a message informing customers of the translation and providing a one-click opt-out.
  • If the user opts out of the translation, the search results return products that include the word “leche,” like “dulce de leche,” in the title or description.

In a corporate blog post announcing the new feature, Walmart explains that prior to 2020, most of its Spanish-speaking customers shopped in stores. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused in-store customers across all demographics to begin shifting to online shopping. At the height of the pandemic, Walmart says Spanish queries across its app and website increased more than five times their pre-pandemic levels. 

During 2022, Walmart plans to further optimize its Spanish-language search experience, including the launch of predictive search and continual personalization and contextualization. The company plans to launch a full end-to-end universal Spanish-language search experience in the future.

“We have always focused on our customers, seeking to understand their needs, desires and wish lists,” Rini Joshi, senior manager, product and Amit Vasant Bande, senior director, product, Walmart, said in the blog post. And we will continue innovating to meet customers where, when and how they want to shop. In the U.S., roughly 18% of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino, a percentage that is predicted to grow to 28% by 2060. We serve all of America, so it’s only natural we should prioritize improving Spanish search functionality.”

For another example of Walmart easing online product search, see how the discounter enables grocery customers to shop online via ingredient.

Based in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart operates more than 10,500 stores and clubs under 46 banners in 24 countries and e-commerce websites.