Mercari Launches ChatGPT-Powered Digital Shopping Assistant


Thrift shopping is all about undiscovered gems, and shoppers will soon be using AI to uncover secondhand treasures.  

Resale marketplace Mercari has added a ChatGPT-enabled shopping assistant, Merchat AI. The conversational shopping bot leverages large language models and sifts through millions of Mercari listings and churns out personalized recommendations based on customer prompts. 

Customers can log onto the Mercari website, type out a request to the shopping assistant in natural conversation, and receive their recommendations. Some of Mercari’s suggested search uses include Mother’s Day Gifts, specific items that are sold out in stores, summer wedding dresses, and trending products.

“Merchat AI marks an exciting turning point in the evolution of secondhand shopping,” said John Lagerling, Mercari U.S.’s CEO. “With this technology, we're leveraging the transformative power of artificial intelligence to make it easier for Americans to shop and explore Mercari's extensive marketplace. We anticipate that generative AI will also unlock more opportunities to iterate on our customer experience, along with additional ways to make the resale experience even more appealing to buyers and sellers.”

Generative AI’s Retail Future 

ChatGPT and other conversational AI technologies are everywhere right now – particularly in the retail sector. This week, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy outlined a vision for their generative AI future, with the company throwing its hat into the ring with its own AI-based Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud service, Bedrock. The large investment Amazon is throwing behind Large Language Models (LLMs) and Generative AI is “core to setting Amazon up to invent in every area of our business for many decades to come,” Jassy said in a letter to shareholders. 

Elsewhere in the retail and consumer goods space, Coca-Cola recently signed on as an early adopter of OpenAI’s generative AI technology for marketing and consumer experiences, along with Anheuser-Busch InBev, Nestle, and General Mills, who have integrated digital assistants that leverage OpenAI’s GPT-4 language models. 

While concerns about ethical practices continue to swirl around generative and conversational AI, its adoption by market leaders shows little sign of slowing down. In fact,  most research companies agree the global generative AI market will push past $100 billion by 2030. Grand View Research, for example, reports the global generative AI market size is anticipated to reach USD 109.37 billion by 2030, and the market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 35.6% from 2023 to 2030.

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