In the world of retail, generative artificial intelligence (AI) has taken up the conversation.
Although the idea is not new, its importance has escalated, especially since November 2022, when OpenAI unveiled ChatGPT, expanding accessibility to this technology for consumers and businesses.
In fact, following NRF 2024, the National Retail Federation’s annual trade show, it’s been reported that 81% of retail decision makers now feel the urgency to adopt AI in their business.
Bearing this in mind, here are some ways retailers have already begun integrating or are planning to integrate generative AI into their 2024 playbook:
Last week, Amazon unveiled a tool employing AI to address shoppers’ queries about products.
In the Amazon mobile app, users are encouraged to ask questions regarding a particular item, and the tool swiftly provides answers by summarizing information gathered from product reviews and the listing.
“Amazon has been using machine learning and AI for many years in virtually everything we do,” said an Amazon spokesperson in an emailed statement to PYMNTS.
“We’re constantly inventing to help make customers’ lives better and easier and are currently testing a new feature powered by generative AI to improve shopping on Amazon by helping customers get answers to commonly asked product questions.”
Unlike OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Amazon’s latest feature doesn’t engage in conversation but can respond to prompts, describe items, stay on topic, and displays an error message if unable to answer a question.
Amazon’s latest launch follows a series of AI-related developments. In October, Amazon Ads introduced a user-friendly generative AI solution for image creation, aiming to enhance ad campaigns without requiring technical expertise. Advertisers can generate lifestyle and brand-themed images by selecting their product on the Amazon Ad Console. The technology allows refinement through short text prompts and enables the creation and testing of multiple versions for optimization.
In June, the company began trials for AI-generated summaries of product reviews and introduced AI features for third-party sellers to improve their listings. Additionally, Amazon introduced Q, an AI chatbot for business tasks, and Bedrock, a generative AI service for Amazon Web Services customers.
In February, Carrefour revealed that it had used ChatGPT to create videos.
The multinational grocery giant, with nearly 14,000 stores across over 30 countries, leveraged the chatbot and a computer-generated human avatar to reduce the labor cost associated with producing customer-facing videos.
In a LinkedIn post, Elodie Perthuisot, the retailer’s chief eCommerce, digital transformation, and data officer, shared the first video the company had made with a ChatGPT-generated script and an ultra-realistic, AI-generated human-like avatar. The video modeled a FAQ-style explainer; in this instance, the avatar offered advice on how to purchase healthier and more affordable foods through the grocer’s platform.
At NRF 2024, Jessyn Katchera, executive director and head of eCommerce for France at Carrefour, affirmed that the company had been employing generative AI to accelerate its content creation process. Rather than waiting several weeks to turnaround campaigns, Carrefour could now achieve this in a matter of days.
In October, Walmart revealed it experimented with generative AI to enhance online shopping. By training the AI to generate relevant search results based on specific use cases, Walmart streamlined the process for customers. For example, customers planning a unicorn-themed toddler birthday party could simply search for the theme and find all the necessary products in one go.
Furthermore, Walmart used AI to aid customers with intricate purchases by offering personalized recommendations based on individual needs and preferences, all to simplify the decision-making process. For example, customers in search of a cellphone compatible with their existing wireless provider could depend on AI-powered guidance.
In 2024, Victoria’s Secret aims to enable its customers to rely on AI for product recommendations.
The clothing retailer has collaborated with Google Cloud in a partnership that includes the implementation of AI, including a new AI assistant, to establish a more “personalized and inclusive” online shopping experience.
“The goal of the conversational chatbot is to provide shoppers with tailored product recommendations and helpful advice based on personal preferences and life experiences — whether a customer is a sports enthusiast, a nursing mother, a breast cancer survivor recovering from a mastectomy, or simply ready for a new bra,” the company said in a statement.
The company additionally highlights that Adore Me, the direct-to-consumer lingerie brand acquired by Victoria’s Secret in 2022, has employed Google Cloud’s Vertex AI platform and Duet AI for Google Workspace in its generative AI initiatives.
“The integration of Google Cloud’s AI and generative AI technologies will not only improve the online shopping experience for our customers, but also will empower our internal teams to drive innovation across various business functions,” said Chris Rupp, chief customer officer for Victoria’s Secret.