Walmart rolls out new 'Ask Sam' tool to store employees to help shoppers find products, prices

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Walmart employees have a new tool to help shoppers find what they're looking for, whether it's a product or price.

Employees at more than 5,000 stores nationwide can now use a voice assistant app called "Ask Sam" to pull up store maps, look up prices, locate products and receive real-time emergency alerts, Walmart shared exclusively with U.S. TODAY.

The app, developed by Sam's Club in 2019, "was designed as an additional way to help associates find the answers they need to do their jobs more effectively and better serve customers," Meng Chee, Walmart's executive vice president and chief product officer, said in a statement.

The announcement of the new program comes a week after Walmart announced stores nationwide would be closed for Thanksgiving for the first time since the late 1980s. Officials said they decided to close for the holiday so employees could spend the day with their families.

The "Ask Sam" feature isn't available on the Walmart app for shoppers, which the retailer recently combined with its Walmart Grocery app to allow consumers to shop for items in multiple departments, much like a trip to one of the company's Supercenter stores. But shoppers can find maps in the app and scan items for prices.

Chee said stores also have been using the "Ask Sam" app to share information about COVID-19 with employees.

"In addition to guidance from their managers, having access to the answers and information they need at their fingertips gives associates confidence as well as more time on the floor with customers," Chee said.

The app also has an emergency feature where managers can send alerts to employees "during high-stress situations."

"The safety and well-being of our associates and customers is our number one priority," Chee said. "The Emergency Alert Button is one of the many steps we've taken to enhance our safety measures."

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