Home improvements retailer Kingfisher has launched an innovative artificial intelligence-driven assistant, marking a groundbreaking move in the sector.
This AI tool aims to provide unparalleled support to customers embarking on DIY projects, underscoring a trend in retail towards personalized shopping experiences through AI integration.
The virtual assistant is designed to cater to DIY queries online, offering step-by-step guidance for various home improvement tasks and recommending suitable products. Customers can engage with the assistant by asking specific questions related to their projects, such as installation techniques or tool selection, receiving tailored advice in response.
Initially debuting on the Castorama France unit’s website and app, the AI assistant operates through text-based chats and will soon incorporate image analysis capabilities for visual searches and responses. Kingfisher expressed intentions to expand this technology across its other subsidiaries, encompassing B&Q and Screwfix in the UK, as well as Brico Depot in France, contingent on its success.
Tom Betts, Kingfisher’s group data director, conveyed immense enthusiasm for the potential of this AI-driven innovation, highlighting its capacity to enhance customer experiences and streamline DIY endeavors.
To power the assistant and support other future applications of AI, Kingfisher’s data team has developed a proprietary AI orchestration framework, named Athena. This will manage prompting and interaction with a range of large language models, as well as other AI tools developed in-house.
This launch follows Kingfisher’s commendable e-commerce sales growth of 7.1 percent in the first half of the fiscal year, amounting to 16.8 percent of total sales. The eagerly anticipated third-quarter results are scheduled for announcement on Nov. 22.
Moreover, Kingfisher has earlier tied up with India-based IT services company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for the implementation of TCS OmniStore, an AI-powered unified commerce platform. This technology integrates various functionalities like click-and-collect services, mobile apps, self-checkout options, and dynamic promotions across the company’s diverse retail banners, enhancing customer engagement and seamless shopping experiences.
The adoption of TCS OmniStore by Kingfisher has not only bolstered associate productivity but also improved revenue streams, expediting checkout processes and leveraging data insights for more effective promotional strategies. The platform’s adaptable API architecture ensures a consistent yet localized approach across different regions where Kingfisher operates.
With plans to extend TCS OmniStore to more banners and regions, Kingfisher plc is poised to revolutionize the retail landscape by delivering unparalleled customer experiences and setting new benchmarks in the realm of AI-driven retail innovation.