Three UK fmcg brands are trialling a generative AI chatbot to interrogate the e-commerce performance of their own products and those of rival brands.

The Ask Profitero AI assistant serves up data from more than 1,000 retailers in 50 countries, including price, availability, search rank, customer reviews, video and imagery, in response to natural language prompts.

“Ask Profitero democratises digital shelf optimisation by making complex data analysis and content generation as easy as having a conversation,” Profitero, the business behind the technology, said.

Users can ask prompts like “which of my biggest sellers had the biggest decrease in sales month to month?” or “give me a table of my competitor’s five best-selling products in August”. They can even ask the chatbot to “make it pretty” and have tables of data converted into charts.

The chat-based tool launched this month in a ‘closed beta version’ with eight brands globally. Four of them have UK teams working with the tool, three of which are fmcg brands.

Among them is Colgate Palmolive, which has a 20-strong team across the UK and US working with Ask Profitero.

The tool will “help find where to go, prioritise resources, prioritise energy” said Colgate Palmolive e-commerce director for growth strategy & planning Todd Hassenfelt.

“[It’s an] incredibly clever, well-engineered application of generative AI that helps brands of any size quickly discover actionable insights without being burdened by complex reports, all while balancing the needs of data privacy,” he added.

Profitero suggests Ask Profitero could be adopted by sales managers to “easily understand all products losing market share and identify the root causes, such as issues with product availability, search or negative reviews, while at the same time isolating the factors causing competitors to gain share”. Marketers could use it to “identify top searched-for keywords in their category and in minutes, generate optimised titles to boost organic search rank and conversion”.

“AI is only as smart as the data you feed it,” said Bryan Wiener, Profitero’s CEO. ”At Profitero, we have the advantage of being able to build an incredibly smart and reliable solution because we’re starting with our best-in-class analytics from more than 1,000 retailers in more than 50 countries. Combining our data quality and scale with AI’s ability to simplify complex data will drive transformative growth for brands.”

The tool was built using OpenAI’s business version of its ChatGPT technology. Brands are being invited to ‘join the waitlist’ ahead of a broader launch of the tool.