Mercari is beta testing a conversational shopping assistant equipped with a next-gen artificial intelligence (AI) solution.
The online marketplace for buying and selling secondhand items is piloting Merchat AI, a customer service chatbot based on ChatGPT technology. ChatGPT interacts with users in a conversational style that mimics human interaction and leverages machine learning (ML) to continually refine and improve its responses.
[Read more: ChatGPT is coming – what it means for your enterprise]
Customers can now engage in real-time conversations with Merchat AI to discover product recommendations based on their individual needs. The new tool leverages the capabilities of ChatGPT to search the millions of items listed on Mercari’s platform in seconds, surfacing real-time recommendations based on specific chat prompts.
Conversations with Merchat AI will be similar to interactions between a customer and a store associate. The chatbot will ask questions to better understand a customer’s particular needs such as brand, color and style.
Once Merchat AI has enough information, it will scan the Mercari marketplace and populate a series of recommendations based on the prompts given. Customers can then click on the product links given to purchase an item or ask the shopping assistant to provide more options.
Merchat AI is now available nationwide to online Mercari shoppers as a beta experience. In the early stages, the retailer says there may be some inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the chatbot’s conversations and search results. Mercari will continuously update Merchat AI based on user interactions and says it will iterate the experience to improve this offering over time.
“Merchat AI marks an exciting turning point in the evolution of secondhand shopping,” said John Lagerling, Mercari U.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.”
Mercari has more than 50 million downloads in the U.S. and 350,000 new listings every day, and is accessible via app or website.
Survey reveals shoppers prefer ChatGPT
According to a recent survey of U.S. consumers who use ChatGPT chatbots conducted by online marketplace Capterra, 67% of respondents feel understood by the bot often or always, compared to 25% of traditional retail chatbot users.
Close to six in 10 (56%) respondents who have used ChatGPT for any purpose say they are likely to shop from a brand that offers a similar tool. However, only 11% have used the bot specifically for shopping purposes.