For years, we’ve spoken about our focus on creating seamless omnichannel shopping experiences that save our customers time and money. We know language can be a significant barrier to a great shopping experience, so we’ve been hard at work to fix that by expanding the Spanish search capability on Walmart.com.
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.
Why now? Prior to 2020, most of our Spanish-speaking customers shopped in stores. The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant behavioral shifts in virtually every customer segment, and as cases continued to rise, in-store customers began shifting to online shopping. At the height of the pandemic, Spanish queries across the Walmart app and website increased more than five times their pre-pandemic levels. This rapid shift in behavior highlighted the need to provide these customers with a Spanish-first online shopping experience.
Last year, we launched a search translation feature on Walmart.com and in the Walmart app, enabling customers to search in Spanish for commonly purchased items. The solution, built by our Walmart Global Tech associates, uses natural language processing (NLP) to detect language, discern nuances and translate queries to deliver a seamless, intuitive experience for customers. We currently translate more than 600,000 of the most frequently searched items, and we’re adding more every day.
This month, we started offering customers the ability to opt in or out of the translated query. Here’s how it works:
- A customer searches for “leche,” Spanish for “milk.”
- The search results page serves items based on the English translation of the word, 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.
This experience enables customers to search in Spanish for over 600,000 of the most commonly ordered items, making their shopping experiences faster, easier and more convenient. This year, we will further optimize the Spanish experience, including the launch of predictive search and continual personalization and contextualization, with plans to launch a full end-to-end universal Spanish experience in the future.
We have always focused on our customers, seeking to understand their needs, desires and wish lists. And we will continue innovating to meet customers where, when and how they want to shop.