Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming how retailers operate and serve customers. To explore the implications, Omni Talk hosts Chris Walton and Anne Mezzenga recently spoke with Amanda Saunders, Senior Manager for Enterprise and Edge AI at Nvidia, a leader in AI computing platforms.
Here are some of the key takeaways from their discussion:
Defining Generative AI
Unlike AI focused on analysis, generative AI can create new content. It examines inputs like text, images or sounds to identify patterns and generate original outputs that retain the essence of what it learned. Retail use cases today include generating product descriptions, aiding customer service and even designing new apparel.
AI as an Augmentation Tool
Rather than a replacement for workers, generative AI acts as an assistant to amplify human capabilities. It automates tedious tasks so employees can focus on higher-value work. For example, an AI chatbot helps retail associates quickly answer customer questions. AI also provides guardrails to avoid inappropriate or incorrect responses.
Personalizing the Shopping Experience
Shopify and other startups offer AI shopping assistants to simplify and enhance consumers’ journeys. They understand preferences and constraints to recommend relevant products. This personalization delivers a customized experience that encourages purchasing.
On the back-end, generative AI can boost productivity. For example, Unilever uses it to filter and prioritize customer service requests. For apparel designers, AI generates initial concepts to kickstart the creative process. It also enables data-driven insights, like identifying the most popular product color variants.
Strategies for Adoption
Saunders advises retailers to build in-house expertise and start experimenting, as capabilities will be a competitive differentiator. Retailers should identify unique data assets and use cases on which to focus. They can consume AI services, purchase tailored solutions, or develop custom models based on need. Nvidia provides AI training tools and resources to enable retailers to scale these types of solutions.
The Final 411
The key takeaway is that generative AI offers tremendous potential to enhance retail by allowing brands to leverage their strengths, tailor the consumer journey, and streamline operations. Retailers should actively explore where they can deploy AI, both customer-facing and internally, to create next-level shopping experiences.