Mastercard launches Shopping Muse, an AI to help consumers find the perfect gift

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With the holiday season quickly approaching, many consumers are looking for the best gifts for their loved ones. But finding the right gift can be a daunting and time-consuming task, especially when faced with endless choices and limited information.

That’s perhaps why Mastercard has decided to launch Shopping Muse, a new service that uses artificial intelligence to provide recommendations on a retailer’s website that are personalized to match an individual consumer’s unique profile, intent, and affinity, and build on the conversation’s context over time.

Shopping Muse is powered by Dynamic Yield, a personalization platform and decision engine that Mastercard acquired from McDonald’s in April 2022. Dynamic Yield helps more than 400 brands across various industries deliver individualized product recommendations, offers, and content based on a range of factors, such as past purchases, page views, customer affinity profile information, and AI algorithms.

Shopping Muse is a generative AI tool that helps consumers search for and discover products in a retailer’s digital catalog. It translates consumers’ requests made via a chatbot into tailored product recommendations, including suggestions for coordinating products and accessories.

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Consumers can explore things like aesthetics, trends, dress codes, etc. using unconventional search terms and Shopping Muse will provide relevant results.

Recommendations are personalized based on the individual consumer’s profile, intent, and affinity. It builds on the context of the conversation over time. It combines contextual and behavioral insights to produce recommendations informed by the retailer’s keywords, visuals, and the consumer’s own affinity. It can also recommend products visually similar to others based on image recognition, even if the technical tags are missing.

The shopping service considers the shopper’s browsing history and past purchases to better estimate future buying intent. It also makes sure to suggest items that are complementary, not redundant, based on the consumer’s affinity and broader collective behavior.

According to Mastercard, Shopping Muse offers several benefits for both consumers and retailers, such as:

  • Saving time and effort: Shopping Muse makes it much easier to discover new products and reduces the risk of buying the wrong or unwanted item. It also make it easier to find and purchase complimentary products.
  • Enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty: Shopping Muse provides a more personalized and engaging shopping experience, and helps consumers find the most relevant and meaningful gifts for their recipients. It also increases the likelihood of repeat purchases and referrals, and strengthens the relationship between the consumers and the retailers.
  • Boosting sales and revenue: Shopping Muse drives more traffic and conversions to the retailers’ websites, and increases the average order value and basket size. It also helps retailers showcase their products and services, and differentiate themselves from the competition.

The product is part of Mastercard’s broader strategy to leverage its data and services capabilities to provide more value beyond the transaction, and to help its customers and partners grow their businesses, engage their consumers and make smarter decisions with better outcomes across the enterprise.

Shopping Muse is also an example of how AI is transforming the retail industry, and how it can create new opportunities and challenges for both consumers and retailers. According to a Gartner report, by 2025, 80% of customer interactions will be managed by AI. A recent McKinsey report similarly predicts that AI will create $400-660 billion in value for the retail industry.

However, AI also poses some ethical and social issues, such as privacy, security, transparency, accountability and bias, that need to be addressed and regulated. For instance, how can consumers trust that the AI recommendations are not influenced by the retailers’ interests or incentives? How can consumers control and protect their personal data and preferences? These are some of the questions that Mastercard and other AI players in the retail space will have to answer and resolve in the coming years.

Correction (Nov. 30, 2023): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Shopping Muse is the first consumer-facing product from Dynamic Yield. We regret the error.

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