Ikea, the world-renowned furniture retailer, has unveiled a groundbreaking generative artificial intelligence (AI) shopping assistant, marking a significant step forward in the retail industry’s embrace of AI-powered customer experiences. Announced on February 5th, 2024, the tool is currently available in the OpenAI GPT store for users with the $20 per month Plus membership in the U.S., with plans for expansion to other markets later this year.
“The new IKEA AI Assistant on GPT Stores is an ongoing initiative, part of our continuous journey to enrich the retail experience and explore innovative ways to interact with our customers and coworkers, as they help us improve and develop further,” stated Parag Parekh, Ikea Retail’s global chief digital officer, in a press release.
Seamless Shopping with Conversational AI
The Ikea AI assistant, accessible through ChatGPT, empowers consumers to engage in natural language interactions to find products, check availability, and even initiate purchases. Imagine searching for an eight-seater dining table; the assistant promptly responds with product images, prices, customer ratings, and a direct checkout link, as showcased in Ikea’s example video. Moreover, it can provide design recommendations and curate product selections based on specific requirements. For instance, you could request “a cozy living room layout for a small apartment using sustainable materials,” and the AI assistant would present relevant furnishing options, drawing from its understanding of generative design.
“We are taking a pragmatic, execution-focused approach, learning by doing and capitalizing on our early efforts of a Responsible AI framework,” said Francesco Marzoni, chief data and analytics officer at Ikea Retail. “We activated a broad ecosystem of partners to bring to life several experiments, so that we can take part in the AI evolution as we shape our company strategy,” he added, highlighting Ikea’s commitment to AI for good.
Generative AI Ushers in a New Era of Retail
Ikea joins a growing wave of major retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, in harnessing the power of generative AI to transform the online shopping experience. Amazon recently introduced Rufus, its generative AI shopping assistant, currently available to a limited group of U.S. customers. Walmart, at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, unveiled a generative AI-powered search function within its app, leveraging Microsoft’s large language model to deliver comprehensive product recommendations across categories.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon envisioned a scenario where searching for “Super Bowl party essentials” would encompass everything from a new TV to snacks and drinks, eliminating the need for individual searches. Personalized results, tailored to the user’s location, search history, and other factors, further enhance the shopping experience, drawing upon advancements in natural language generation.
Ikea’s Generative AI Assistant: A Look Ahead
Ikea’s foray into generative AI signifies a commitment to providing a more engaging and efficient shopping experience for its customers. As AI technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more sophisticated and personalized shopping interactions in the future. With its responsible AI framework in place, Ikea is poised to be at the forefront of this exciting retail revolution, shaping the future of AI for business.