Imagine walking into a supermarket and being greeted by an avatar concierge that comprehends your preferences and provides recommendations for products you might like. This is precisely what a generative AI system is currently achieving in a trial at a Japanese supermarket, where it assesses customers’ in-store behavior and offers real-time suggestions.
The system is developed by Fujitsu in collaboration with a research group from Waseda University. It uses video cameras to detect customers’ actions and interests, and then feeds them to a model that estimates the best content to present. The system is designed to “generate optimal content for each customer by estimating their interests and preferences based on their actions and movements within the store,” according to Fujitsu.
The system is part of a broader trend of using generative AI to create personalized shopping experiences. Generative AI is a subset of artificial intelligence that learns from data how to generate something new. It can be used to create images, videos, text, music, code, and more.
Generative AI can help retailers increase customer loyalty, conversion rates, average order value, and revenue. It can also reduce costs by optimizing inventory, pricing, and marketing. According to Harvard Business Review, “AI-powered personalization can help retailers deliver the right product, at the right price, at the right time, through the right channel, to each individual customer.”
Generative AI can also improve e-commerce customer service by creating natural and empathetic responses, as well as generating solutions and offers for customers’ problems. As Ultimate.ai, a company that provides generative AI for customer service, states, “The ultimate goal of generative AI is to create a human-like interaction that builds trust and rapport with the customer. It can also help foster creativity and innovation by generating new ideas and possibilities.”
However, generative AI also raises some ethical and practical challenges. For example, how does the system respect customers’ privacy and consent? How does it handle sensitive or controversial topics? How does it deal with errors or biases? How does it cope with different scenarios and customers?
These are some of the questions that need to be addressed before generative AI becomes mainstream in retail. For now, the trial in Japan is an interesting experiment that shows the potential and limitations of generative AI for personalized shopping experience.
– Japanese supermarket watches you shop, AI suggests stuff, The Register, Aug 4, 2023
– Delivering a Personalized Shopping Experience with AI, Harvard Business Review, Aug 5, 2023
– AI For E-Commerce Personalization: Start With The Right Data, Forbes, Aug 1, 2023
– How Generative AI Is Revolutionizing The Ecommerce Customer Experience, Ultimate.ai, Apr 26, 2023