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Simon introduces AI-driven holiday shopping tool

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Dive Brief:

  • Alongside other retail companies experimenting with AI, Simon, the retail and mixed-use real estate firm, has created “HolidAI,” a tool that uses artificial intelligence technology to help customers find gifts, according to a Thursday press release. The company is introducing the technology at its Roosevelt Field property in Garden City, New York, and Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, California, on Nov. 24.
  • The tool uses ChatGPT 4.0 to help connect customers with products within its database of gifts. Simon staffers, dubbed “HolidAI helper elves,” will use digital tablets to assist shoppers. After asking personalized and AI-generated questions, the tool will identify and find their desired items within the shopping centers.
  • In addition to aiding shoppers, the helpers will provide impromptu dancing and singing performances. HolidAI will recur every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 23.

Dive Insight:

With its new artificial intelligence shopping tool, Simon is continuing to experiment with tech features that support in-store shoppers and employees. 

Last year, Simon Property Group began piloting its Simon Search tool, which assists customers looking for in-stock items at participating retailers within their properties before and during their visit. Earlier this year, the company expanded the tool across 187 properties, allowing customers to shop for their desired merchandise at more than 3,300 stores.

“Shopping at our centers during the holiday season is always festive and we are excited to make the experience extra special this year with our Simon ‘helper elves’ who will be using customized AI technology to make gift finding easier for busy shoppers,” Simon Chief Marketing Officer Lee Sterling said in a statement. “As holiday shoppers engage with our lively, knowledgeable helper elves, they will experience the thrill of pinpointing just the right gift thanks to the latest advancements in AI.” 

Simon joins a growing list of retailers and companies experimenting with artificial intelligence in the retail space, including eBay, Amazon, Google and Walmart. But as more major companies experiment with AI-driven technology, the National Retail Federation recently released four principles to guide retailers using AI for everything from governance and risk management to business partner accountability.

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