Supermarket giant Carrefour launches ChatGPT tools for shoppers

22 June 2023 3 min. read

French grocery firm Carrefour has unfurled a new ChatGPT service, to help shoppers find the right products for them. The project is the result of a collaboration with Bain & Company, which secured a major innovation partnership with ChatGPT’s creator at the start of the year.

OpenAI is an American artificial intelligence research laboratory, at the heart of several of the world’s most famous AI systems. Alongside image generator DALL·E and language-to-code generator Codex, its most disruptive creation to date is ChatGPT.

Launched in November 2022, the system is built on top of OpenAI's GPT-3 family of large language models, which it has been fine-tuning using both supervised and reinforcement learning techniques to produce an AI chatbot capable of human-like conversations, and much more.

Supermarket giant Carrefour launches ChatGPT tools for shoppers

Many companies are presently wondering how they might deploy ChatGPT to provide customer services advice, for example. But like any technological transformation, they need support from external experts, if they are to get the most out of it.

That’s where Bain & Company comes in. In February 2023, the strategy consulting giant sealed a new global services alliance with OpenAI – and has now started working with the firm together to bring OpenAI’s capabilities to clients around the world.

Carrefour is perhaps the most famous example of this so far. The French multinational retail and wholesaling corporation is the eighth-largest retailer in the world by revenue, operating a chain of 14,000 hypermarkets, groceries stores and convenience stores in over 40 countries. As the grocery giant looks to help customers connect with its products quickly, and recommend relevant offers to help boost sales, it has rolled out a trio of innovative solutions based around OpenAI’s systems.

Alexandre Bompard, chairman and CEO of the Carrefour Group, commented, “Thanks to our digital and data culture, we have already turned a corner when it comes to artificial intelligence. Generative AI will enable us to enrich the customer experience and profoundly transform our working methods. Integrating OpenAI technologies into what we do is an amazing opportunity for Carrefour. By pioneering the use of generative AI, we want to be one step ahead and invent the retail of tomorrow.”

AI solutions

First, Carrefour has deployed Hopla: a chatbot based on ChatGPT which is now live on the website. Customers can now use Hopla’s natural-language AI to help them with their daily shopping. The AI assistant is connected to the site’s search engine. This means they can type questions to it asking for help in choosing products for their basket, based on their budget, dietary requirements, or menu ideas.

Meanwhile, Hopla can also suggest anti-waste solutions for reusing ingredients and composing associated recipes and baskets.

Generative AI has also been used to enrich Carrefour brand product sheets, with the OpenAI technology being used to describe products and providing customers with more information. This has been used for more than 2,000 products, but in the end Carrefour wants to use this technology for all of it product sheets.

Finally, Carrefour has started using generative AI for its internal purchasing processes. Currently being developed alongside teams from the non-retail purchasing division and will help them with their everyday tasks, the solution is already being used to draft invitations to tender and analyse quotes.

The solutions are each the result of a collaboration with Bain and Microsoft, according to a release from Carrefour. The partners of OpenAI used Microsoft’s OpenAI Azure service to access OpenAI’s GPT-4 technology. Meanwhile, they utilised all of Microsoft Azure’s data security, reliability and confidentiality features, to ensure compliance with GDPR regulations.