Shoppers in Singapore are world’s first to have access to new Microsoft tool that uses AI to recommend the best products

Microsoft’s new AI-driven product advisor recommends the best devices suited to a shopper’s needs through a series of use-case based questions.
Business Insider / Lamont Mark Smith

Have you ever been in a position where you are looking for a new laptop only to realise that the problem with getting one is that there are just too many choices?

As with many other things, there’s now a new artificial intelligence-driven solution that might help with that.

The new retail solution by Microsoft, called Microsoft Synchronized Shopping, will allow shoppers to leverage an online guided assistant tool to help them make more informed purchase decisions.

Launched on Monday (Nov 4) in Singapore, Microsoft Synchronized Shopping – available on Harvey Norman’s Singapore website – is being exclusively piloted at Harvey Norman’s Millenia Walk flagship store, which is also the first in the world to have it.

There is no date set for expansion into future markets yet, Microsoft said.

According to Microsoft, the new product advisor recommends the best devices suited to a shopper’s needs through a series of use-case based questions. Currently, the tool only works for laptop recommendations.

For example, it will recommend the most relevant laptops based on budget and what the primary usage of the device will be.

The recommendations will be narrowed down based on your answer.
Harvey Norman

The resulting recommendations reflect devices that are already on display in the Harvey Norman flagship outlet, where customers can try them out, Microsoft said.

Additionally, with the help of geo-location services, a “shopper pass” will also be created on the shopper’s mobile device wallet, such as Apple Wallet or Google Pay.

This means that a phone notification will be sent once the shopper is close to the store where the shortlisted products are available.

Once in the store, the user’s mobile device and the screen on the recommended laptop will both flash a shape and colour assigned by the system.

Despite this, according to Microsoft, users will not have to worry about leaving any digital footprints on the store’s displace devices.

A Microsoft spokesperson told Business Insider at the launch event that Synchronized Shopping does not collect any more data than needed.

Microsoft

A “Live View” feature set for release two weeks from launch will also allow for products to be compared easily. This will provide users with specifications of the recommended laptops.

According to Microsoft, shoppers today find it difficult to choose the product that best meets their needs without conducting extensive research. In addition, purchase decisions are often delayed due to the overwhelming number of choices.

The company said that Microsoft Synchronized Shopping was inspired by these problems, as a way to narrow down choices and help consumers get past this “choice paralysis”.

A myraid of things can be compared – including processors, memory, size and screen resolution.
Business Insider / Lamont Mark Smith

Ami Silverman, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of worldwide sales, consumer and device sales division, said that the intelligent edge solution addresses the issue of choice paralysis by “providing a seamless online and in store experience”.

She added that Microsoft Synchronized Shopping is also the “first of many innovative solutions” that the American tech giant is working on for the retail industry.

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