Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

Engineering + Design + Business

Integrated Innovation Institute

Sanghmitra Shrivastava (MSSM ’18)

Making Things “Click” for Shoppers at Walmart.com

Sanghmitra Shrivastava (MSSM ’18) is making the online shopping experience easier for the millions of visitors to Walmart.com.

As a Product Manager of Customer Experience at Walmart Labs, Shrivastava works to solve problems that prevent customers from finding what they need online.

“Customers don’t usually come to website from the home page. Most of the time, they’re coming to a product detail page from a traffic source like SEO and often they have various intents,” Shrivastava says, explaining how her team serves customers by improving the search to product detail page journey map and converting website visitors to customers.

“For example, say the customer searches for a dress,” Shrivastava posits. “Maybe it’s a work dress, a date night dress, or maybe it’s a dress for their baby. We have to solve for multiple customer intents based on known insights like brand affinity or color preferences, and help customers find what they’re looking for in the least amount of time possible. I solve for the search to product detail page journey, making it consistent and seamless, especially for items having seemingly gazillions of options like fashion."

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Walmart.com distribution center, per Walmart Media Library
 
Though Shrivastava is an experienced product management expert, she creates none of her features in isolation; instead, her solutions are the result of extensive collaboration. To best understand and refine the customer journey from search to product detail pages, Shrivastava collaborates with a team of engineers, data scientists, researchers, and designers. As she delves into the discovery phase, she also works with other product managers and Walmart Lab’s analytics team to identify existing and potential problems throughout the journey. The team works through a hypothesis, identifying critical data points, before deciding to move forward with creating possible solutions.

“I work to align myself with stakeholders by capturing feedback on a regular basis as I create my proposal,” explains Shrivastava. “Then, I can start working with our designers. They’re the visual experts who can ensure that the interaction is as effective as possible.”

The implementation of new solutions, however, is rather tricky and often risks debilitating existing features. Shrivastava works with a team of researchers to ensure that her solution won’t affect ongoing operations and to build a focused roadmap, collaborating between the research, engineering, and design teams to create initial prototypes and findings.

“It’s a very, very close-knit team,” she says of her colleagues. “A lot of us entered the industry around the same time and we’re kind of like a family.”

Shrivastava began developing her Walmart Labs network in 2018, when she spent her summer working as a product manager intern prior to graduating from the Master of Science in Software Management program.

“During the internship, we got to work on various parts of the timeline,” she said. “I couldn’t really build anything from scratch since I only had ten weeks. Now that I’m full time, of course, I work on the entire timeline.”

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Shrivastava as an intern for Walmart Labs in the summer of 2018

Having spent over a year working for Walmart in different product management capacities, Shrivastava notes her favorite part of being with the company.

“I used to work for a luxury brand that had very niche customer segment,” she reflects. “I wanted a challenge. I wanted to work somewhere where the outreach was tremendous. Every day, I get to see how millions of customers are interacting with the product and that is so exciting. We’re working to make their lives easier.”

The Integrated Innovation Experience

Sanghmitra Shrivastava (MSSM ’18) says that the skills she learned as a Master of Science in Software Management student are skills which she applies every day as a product manager.

"Tony Wasserman's class, Product Definition and Validation, was extremely helpful because it was the first time I encountered that each persona has a different journey. I learned how to study a customer's life cycle, not just when they're on our website, but well before that."