What’s Going On With Grocery and ChatGPT?

New report shows that majority of grocery execs have discussed generative AI
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
ChatGPT has implications for customer service, product discovery and labor tools in the grocery business.

It seems there is a lot of chatter about ChatGPT. Awareness about the potential and possible pitfalls of this AI-powered tool has grown over the past few months.

An AI chatbot that generates content based on text prompts, ChatGPT was launched in November by San Francisco startup OpenAI and leverages a database of billions of words to create human-like responses. The chatbot has applications and implications  across a wide variety of industries and functions, including in the manufacturing and retail sectors.

[Read more: "These Grocers Scored High in Customer Satisfaction"]

According to the February performance scorecard from Grocery Doppio, powered by Incisiv in partnership with Wynshop, more than two-thirds (67%) of grocers have discussed ChatGPT at senior-level meetings. Grocery leaders also shared that they think ChatGPT will affect areas of their business including customer service, product discovery and store associate tools. 

"ChatGPT has taken the world by storm, and grocers are no exception," said Gaurav Pant, chief insights officer of both Incisiv and Grocery Doppio. "Grocers acknowledge they need advanced analytics and AI and are willing to experiment and invest in building those capabilities. Those that focus on high-impact use cases like inventory optimization or can figure out a better search and recommendation experience using LLMs [large language models] have a chance to leapfrog their peers."

Earlier this month, reports emerged that delivery platform Instacart is planning to add ChatGPT into its app as part of a new “Ask Instacart” feature. The tool will provide answers to user questions on a variety of topics based on data from Instacart’s approximately 1.5 million products available at 75,000 retailers across North America.

In France, the Carrefour chain recently disclosed that it is testing and assessing ChatGPT to create videos addressing common consumer questions. “With our generative AI video made two weeks ago using ChatGPT, we wanted to show that artificial intelligence had entered the daily lives of the French and Carrefour,” shared Elodie Perthuisot, the retailer’s e-commerce chief and data officer, in a LinkedIn post. “We put this subject at the heart of our ambition and our model: we have built high-level data teams, which work on artificial intelligence models to improve the experience of our customers (for example by personalizing promotions), better respond to their concerns (our "anti-inflation button" that suggests cheaper alternatives). And we also put artificial intelligence at the service of our responsible commitments with waste reduction algorithms.”

Likewise, manufacturers are experimenting with generative AI in different ways. According to the Associated Press news service, The Coca-Cola Co. plans to use the technology as it develops new marketing content. “We must embrace the risks,” declared Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey in a recent video announcing a partnership with OpenAI via an alliance with the Bain consulting firm. “We need to embrace those risks intelligently, experiment, build on those experiments, drive scale, but not taking those risks is a hopeless point of view to start from.”

Already, the fledgling OpenAI has expanded the ChatGPT portfolio. In February, the tech company added a new ChatGPT Plus premium service. On March 1, OpenAI rolled out an Application Programming Interface (API) that gives companies access to ChatGPT to build the tool into their apps, websites and services.

In addition to the specific ChatGPT tool, Grocery Doppio’s latest scorecard found that AI is becoming further ensconced in grocers’ lexicons and plans. More than half (59%) of grocers said they will test an AI solution this year and 82% said that they consider AI a necessity to stay competitive in the future.

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