AWS for Industries

Reimagining the customer experience with generative AI – part 1

The hype for generative AI

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has been a headline topic worldwide since at least March 2023. Whether you’ve marveled at the humanlike responses of chatbots, or the millions of images, video, and music produced on demand by these tools in the blink of an eye, it’s clear that generative AI has become a game changing force for innovation. The hype surrounding it, however, raises questions for people in retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG), in particular:

  • Why does generative AI mark such a momentous point in time for industry disruptors?
  • How has it made a break from other types of artificial intelligence we’ve seen before?
  • In what ways will it power innovation and groundbreaking use cases in the future?

Excitement for artificial intelligence has grown by leaps and bounds from its origins in the 1950s to the birth of big data and machine learning. Driverless cars and delivery bots, Jeopardy-winning AI, and Just Walk Out technology have all reshuffled our expectations around what roles artificial intelligence can play in the world today.

Now, with the arrival of generative AI, these expectations have been elevated to a whole new level, marking a decisive turning point in the history of artificial intelligence. Watch my recent video interview: Generative AI’s impact on retail and CPG, Part 1 with Jeffrey Woldt of the Chain Drug Review to learn more.

At Amazon Web Services (AWS), the conversation around generative AI extends well beyond fraud prevention, image and video analysis, and demand forecasting. Today, it’s not just IT professionals leading the discussion: AWS estimates that 95-98 percent of the people inquiring about generative AI in 2023 come straight from line-of-business leaders and the C-suite. Whether businesses already have use cases lined up or they’re in an early stage experimenting with generative AI to get better data into their environment, it’s clear that there is a lot of momentum behind this revolutionary tool.

Generative AI: the disruptor of all disruptors?

The buzz surrounding generative AI in retail and CPG begs the question: Why now? Finding answers has been at the heart of Amazon’s mission since it pioneered the artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) space over 20 years ago with its innovations in ecommerce recommendation engines, supply chain forecasting, and automated fulfillment centers. Yet all signs point to generative AI being a disruptive force unlike anything we’ve seen before.

For example, generative AI has broken all records when it comes to the speed of user adoption. It took traditional radio 38 years to gather 50 million regular users; TV took 13 years; the internet needed four. In comparison, it only took one month before generative AI and so-called large language models (LLMs) boasted a user base of that size.

The AI of the past and of today differ in one distinct way: it’s creative. When we think of traditional AI, we imagine forecasting tools and customer segmentation. Generative AI, on the other hand, allows us to create new media, to look for guidance on how to develop other models, and to pull specific insights from a pile of data in milliseconds.

Business opportunities on the creativity and productivity side of retail and CPG have also exploded with the advent of generative AI, offering companies a multiplicity of ways to leverage this exciting new tool. Ever since AWS kicked off cloud computing in 2006, CPG companies realized how easy it is to be left behind if they failed to spot the potential in groundbreaking tech. The subsequent arrival of mobile and edge computing reaffirmed that lesson, igniting demand for data and analytics. Today, business leaders and customers looking for new avenues for tech investment are quickly realizing that generative AI has come on the scene just in time.

Using generative AI in retail and CPG

There are four main use cases for generative AI that AWS expects to dominate the tech market in the coming years:

  1. Coding — helping to automate and generate code for large data sets.
  2. Customer engagement — creating personalized journeys for customers 24/7 through chatbots.
  3. Content generation — facilitating product marketing, including the ability to imagine and design the next product that makes sense for a customer.
  4. Faster insights — enabling models to quickly sift through vast quantities of data for insights and improve them over time.

Today, generative AI can create lifelike images and text in a fraction of the time marketers use to dedicate to photo shoots and merchandising campaigns. Negotiations with suppliers in your supply chain can also be simplified with generative AI, allowing you to shorten contract compliance processes. What’s more, store design and planogram creation will become streamlined along with product customization, with generative AI quickly drafting a set of titles, bullets, and customer questions about a product based on reviews—without having to reach out to agencies.

Interested in staying up to date on generative AI on AWS and how it can help your company innovate faster while reinventing customer experiences and applications? Check out my video interview: Generative AI’s impact on retail and CPG, Part 1 with Jeffrey Woldt of the Chain Drug Review to learn more. Watch Generative AI’s impact on retail and CPG, Part 2 for further insights.

Contact an AWS Representative to know how we can help accelerate your business.

Justin Honaman

Justin Honaman

Justin Honaman leads the worldwide Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Go-to-Market team at Amazon Web Services (AWS). He is also the worldwide segment leader for Food & Beverage. His team’s focus within CPG and Retail is on delivering supply chain, ecommerce, data, analytics, and digital engagement business solutions for customers globally.