Kingfisher launches GenAI-powered DIY assistant in ‘industry-first’

Kingfisher has launched a new AI-powered assistant in a move described by the B&Q-owner as a first for the home improvement sector.

The company, which also owns Screwfix in the UK, said that the Generative AI (GenAI) tool will first be introduced to its French DIY brand Castorama France.

The virtual assistant is able to answer customer DIY questions and provides “step-by-step” advice on a range of home improvement projects, as well as tailored product recommendations.

Kingfisher says that users of the tool can ask it questions in natural language while shopping online – for example “how do I install a worktop in my kitchen” or “which saw should I choose to cut my worktop?”.

According to the DIY retail giant, the assistant answers in a friendly and conversational way with relevant advice based on a "wealth of DIY and product knowledge".

The tool will also soon be able to analyse photos to perform visual searches and answer visual queries.

By uploading a photo, a customer will able to use the assistant to identify a particular part – for example “I want to replace this broken part of my sink but I don’t know what it’s called” or “I’d like to find another cushion like this one”.

“Our new virtual assistant is designed to simplify the world of home improvement, making DIY projects easy and accessible for everyone," said Tom Betts, group data director, Kingfisher. "Whether you’re a DIY novice looking for advice getting started with a project, or an experienced DIYer in need of a technical answer quickly, our assistant will be on hand to support 24/7."

To support future applications of AI across its retail brands, the organisation said its data team has created a propriety AI orchestration framework designed to manage prompting and interaction with a range of large language models (LLMs), as well as other in-house AI tools.

Its DIY assistant builds on several other AI projects across Kingfisher's business, including AI-powered product recommendation and personalisation engineers at B&Q and Screwfix, which it says are already generating up to 10 per cent of e-commerce sales.

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