Retailers add ChatGPT to their holiday bag of tricks

Retailers may have been too busy with the holiday crush last Nov. 30 to notice when the OpenAI consortium released the generative AI bot ChatGPT for public use. But generative AI quickly became the hottest topic in tech, and early adopting online retailers plan to put it to good use this holiday season.

Fashion retailer Stitch Fix, for example, uses generative AI to create ad headlines and product descriptions, and finds most AI-produced suggestions pass human muster. It’s also fed 4.5 billion words and other data signals from customer feedback into its system to create personalized outfit recommendations that take into account a shopper’s preferences, past purchases and other shoppers’ behaviors — all at a scale that humans cannot match.

“All those uses case will be relevant to help our holiday season,” says Jeff Cooper, chief data scientist at Stitch Fix.

And more use cases are sure to emerge as retailers gain experience with generative AI and vendors build the technology into their systems to make it accessible for companies of all sizes. The cost to get started is affordable and likely will go down, says Simion Petrov, senior vice president of innovation at ecommerce consulting firm OSF Digital.

The important thing, Petrov says, is for retailers not to be scared off by fears generative AI systems like ChatGPT provide biased or inaccurate results or that company data might be exposed by these systems.

“The dark side of AI is very controllable, and everyone is working on making sure AI is not going rogue,” Petrov says.

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