- Video commerce platform Firework and The Fresh Market plan in early June to begin a public test of an automated platform that can automatically answer questions from shoppers who watch recordings of livestreamed videos, Firework Co-founder and President Jerry Luk said in an interview.
- The system, which Firework is still refining, uses generative artificial intelligence technology that can interact with viewers in real time after an online program has concluded.
- Firework decided to build the technology after receiving requests from retailers for tools to help them more effectively manage shoppable content, Luk said.
While livestreaming has emerged as an effective way to generate excitement among a key subset of shoppers, Firework has found that producing and managing video programming poses key challenges for the vast majority of retailers it works with, Luk said.
Retailers were particularly interested in finding a way for live programming to be just as appealing to shoppers who watch a recording as it is to people who are able to tune in live, he said, noting that Firework also works with Albertsons, L'Oréal, Sam’s Club and American Express.
The technology Firework developed uses AI to generate answers to questions from shoppers based on the content of a video, comments from other viewers and product information the system is able to access. For example, a viewer can ask for information about how to prepare a salad shown in a video and immediately get a response, Firework noted in a press release about its partnership with The Fresh Market.
The grocery chain will pilot the technology on its website and through its shoppable video live commerce retail media network, according to the announcement.
The Fresh Market began adding shoppable video to its online grocery channels in late 2021 and saw engagement with shoppers increase within months, the company said last year. Earlier this year, The Fresh Market and Firework launched what they described as the first retail media network in the U.S. to incorporate shoppable videos.
In an emailed response to questions from Grocery Dive, The Fresh Market Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Miller said the retailer wanted a way to help shoppers use its videos to drive shopping decisions on their own terms.
“Today, you must go beyond the traditional strategy of reaching the right customer, at the right time, in the right place — you must reach them in the right way. This means in a way that encourages customers to engage with your content to solve their problems — and not to block it, turn it off, or tune it out,” Miller said.
Firework and The Fresh Market will be using the beta test they are preparing to launch to measure the accuracy of the answers the system is able to provide to shoppers, Luk said. The companies are still working out when or if the system should let shoppers know they are interacting with an AI engine as opposed to a human moderator, he said.
“We’re getting more feedback, and the whole point about while we’re doing alpha and beta testing is to fine-tune the experience,” Luk said.
Even as Firework sharpens its existing technology, the company is looking into ways it can provide additional services to retailers. For example, while Firework’s technology can currently work with information it gathers from text-based comments and the voices of people who appear in videos, the company’s AI team has already started exploring ways to use the system to pull information from visual material in videos, said Luk.
In addition, Firework is looking into using AI to help retailers create content, including by using input from shoppers and existing content as the basis for other videos, according to Luk.