Boots pilots ChatGPT-powered chatbot

British drugstore operator Boots is planning to deploy generative artificial intelligence to assist shoppers at its online store. According to press reports, a chatbot will use OpenAI’s ChatGPT to provide customers with recommendations when shopping for lipsticks and other beauty products. The project is currently at an early test stage. However, Boots’ digital team intends to ramp up work on the solution after the holidays.

The drugstore retailer has already been working with ChatGPT distributor Microsoft for some time now and is using the technology in other areas of the company as well. However, the use of generative AI is not without risks. It promises to be much more flexible and powerful than pre-programmed chatbots. However, the technology can also produce unpredictable and incorrect results. For this reason, Boots will initially not be using it its pharmaceutical sector, but primarily for cosmetic products.


The company, which is part of the Walgreens Boots Alliance Group, wishes to boost online sales with the measure. Last year, Boots announced that it would be closing around 300 of its 2,200 stores in the country. At the same time, the company reported a sales increase of almost 29 per cent in its e-commerce arm for the past quarter.

Online store to become more attractive with AI

The retailer is also using artificial intelligence in other ways to make its online store more customer friendly. For a few months now, Boots has been using AI-based platform Boost from provider Ocula Technologies. This uses artificial intelligence to analyse all product pages and benchmark them with those of the competition. The solution develops and prioritises content improvement suggestions. It also independently generates titles or product descriptions.

The software also acts when shopping baskets are abandoned. It identifies activities to improve customer experience and prioritises these according to the expected benefits and efforts, helping those responsible at Boots to focus on the most effective measures.

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Joachim Pinhammer

Joachim Pinhammer supports retail and technology companies with consulting and marketing expertise. He was Senior Analyst and Research Director Retail Technology at the London-based analyst group Planet Retail. Prior to that, he was the global marketing director for the retail division of Wincor Nixdorf (now Diebold Nixdorf). Joachim Pinhammer is a regular speaker at events organised by Messe Düsseldorf (EuroShop and EuroCIS), the EHI and further industry conferences. His reports are regularly published by trade magazines and online retail industry media.

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