Let’s be honest. There is a lot of hype surrounding OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Hundreds if not thousands of articles have been written about ChatGPT. How do I know that? You guessed. I asked ChatGPT.
But let me start by making a clear statement about this article. I wrote it myself. It was not generated by ChatGPT, although I will be quoting some content later on.
There is no doubt that the introduction of ChatGPT has sent shock waves around the world with its potential to disrupt so many facets of our lives. The release of GPT-4 has demonstrated how quickly the AI world is moving and how many applications it will have. What is undeniable is that AI is here in a big way, and is only going to get more sophisticated, so the smart money is on embracing the technology and figuring out how to harness its power.
The thing about new technology is that history has taught us the change comes about in two phases. There is the introduction of a new technology, and then there is the process of learning how to utilise the new technology. The speed of adoption depends on a number of factors such as pre-existing skillsets, access to the new technology, systems, processes and importantly, organisational culture.
Which brings me to the question of how the Retail industry might leverage ChatGPT. Let’s start with what it is not going to do. It is not going to tell you what next year’s hot fashion item is going to be. Retail is fickle and unpredictable, which is why it is a fun place to be. It is also not going to help you build a better predictive demand model, although that is the direction these AI models are evolving.
The artificial intelligence in ChatGPT is being able to understand Natural Language, interpret what you are seeking and then search unfathomably large quantities of text to deliver you an answer, also in Natural Language. Note that I used the word text, not data. ChatGPT is not, for now at least, the go to solution if you want to interrogate reams of numbers.
So, let’s get into some examples. I’m a supplier to Walmart. I want to know what I can do to prepare for a Line Review. So I asked ChatGPT, “How do I prepare for a Walmart Line Review?” This is what came back in less than ten seconds:
Wow! I passed this by one of the good Walmart folk and their response was if you follow those steps mentioned you will be well positioned (and probably ahead of the average….!)
I put the same question into the Google Search bar and got 31,400,000 results. None were anything like as concise or as informative as the above. That’s not to say I could have trawled through a bunch of the articles on pages one and two and pulled together some useful incremental information, but that takes time and effort.
There, I said it. “Time and Effort.” We are all inherently time poor, overworked and let’s face it, on occasions, lazy. ChatGPT is a brilliant innovation for two reasons. First the clever creators have trained a model to ‘understand’ natural language. But second, and importantly, they have made it so easy for you and I to leverage those smarts. If you can think of the question, ChatGPT will give you an informed and intelligent response.
At krunchbox, we have long talked about the power of democratizing data – making it available and transparent to everyone, rather than having to go through gatekeepers who protect the access to the data. ChatGPT is a democratizing technology. It empowers anyone to inform themselves quickly and easily without having to call upon specialists either internally within their own company or externally at significant expense.
Finally, much has rightly been made of the impact ChatGPT has already had on Google and its dominance in internet search. It is a salient point because if Google can be shaken to its core by an upstart like ChatGPT, what could it mean for your business? AI is going to disrupt your business, and much sooner than you might think. In terms of technological innovation, this is an inflection point the likes of which we have not seen for a long time.
New Product Development, packaging, promotions, advertising, supply chain planning, demand forecasting – whatever part of the retail ecosystem you operate in – AI is a wonderful opportunity to innovate and get ahead. So grasp it with both hands.
About the Author:
John Pitman, CEO of Krunchbox |
a global retail data analytics provider
Krunchbox is a global Retail Point-of-Sale analytics platform for retailers and their suppliers, which transforms retail data into insights, actions, and results. Krunchbox collates data from over 200 retailers across the globe every week and is the analytics partner of choice for many of the world’s most recognized CPG companies. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org