- Following predictions of greater chatbot adoption, Mercari, the secondhand goods marketplace, debuted Merchat AI, a shopping assistant that uses the artificial intelligence software ChatGPT, according to a press release shared with Retail Dive.
- With Merchat AI, shoppers can ask the chatbot questions regarding the products they want, such as “What should I buy my mom for Mother’s Day?” or “Find me a large turquoise ombre tumbler.” From there, they can select the product recommendations the chatbot provides or ask for more options, according to the announcement.
- The tool is available across the country, but it’s still being beta tested. The company noted that the chatbot might provide inaccuracies and inconsistencies, but it plans to update the feature using data from user interactions, per the press release.
Since its founding in 2013, Mercari said its app has been downloaded more than 50 million times, and its users add more than 350,000 new product listings daily, per its press release. It has also expanded to more than 50 countries, according to the company’s website. Now, the company is enhancing its personalization capabilities to improve recommendations and search.
“Merchat AI marks an exciting turning point in the evolution of secondhand shopping,” John Lagerling, Mercari U.S. CEO, said in a statement. “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.”
Mercari is one of the multiple companies joining the artificial intelligence craze. Instacart is also using ChatGPT to improve its search engine capabilities and build shopping lists. Social media companies like Meta and Snap have also been experimenting with the technology, The Wall Street Journal reported in February.
As more companies integrate chatbot technologies into their business models, industry analysts predict these tools will become more commonplace in the coming years. A July 2022 Gartner survey found that over half of the respondents use chatbots, virtual customer assistants or conversational AI platforms for customer-facing applications. The company predicted that chatbots will become the primary customer service channel for about a fourth of businesses by 2027.