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Firework Unveils AI-Powered Virtual Shopping Assistant

Firework, a video commerce and engagement platform, has unveiled an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered virtual shopping assistant for eCommerce merchants.

Dubbed AVA (AI Virtual Assistant), the assistant takes the form of a digital human avatar that uses Firework’s proprietary large language model (LLM) to transform eCommerce sites into virtual stores, the company said in a Wednesday (Jan. 10) press release. With adaptive intelligence, AVA can act as a brand and product expert, offering personalized guidance based on customers’ past purchase history.

“With AVA, we are offering brands a truly transformative advantage in the marketplace,” said Firework Co-founder and President Jerry Luk said in a statement. “By seamlessly integrating our advanced AI technology with their own websites, brands can fundamentally reshape the digital customer experience — bringing the best aspects of in-store shopping online, while doubling down on the inherent advantages of eCommerce.”

Firework said in the release that by focusing on retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) and model fine-tuning, it has enabled AVA to learn and adapt over time. AVA gathers information from various sources, including customer questions and feedback, engagement outcomes, and sales data, allowing it to deliver accurate and informed responses in real-time.

To further enhance AVA’s capabilities, Firework has partnered with Google Cloud. This collaboration accelerates testing, prototyping and market initiatives using Google Cloud’s Vertex AI platform, which focuses on the development and training of AI and machine learning models.

“With AVA, Firework is showing that AI has the ability to humanize and personalize the online shopping experience in ways most never thought possible.” said Chris Colyer, head of retail industry partnerships at Google Cloud. “We’re excited to see how our partners such as Firework are utilizing Google Cloud’s AI to build impactful tools, and bring tangible value to retailers, empowering them to forge deeper connections with their customers.”

AVA’s rollout comes at a time when more retailers are turning to new strategies to boost sales online. 

As PYMNTS reported recently, successful retail subscription companies actively tap into social media apps’ wide audiences, while underperformers tend to abstain from these platforms.

According to PYMNTS Intelligence’s Decision Guide series, “The Retail Subscription Features That Make Top-Performing Merchants,” 80% of top-performing merchants offer social media signups, compared to just 7% of the bottom performers.