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Shoptalk Europe 2024: Currys bets big on generative AI

By Miya Knights, Publisher | Monday June 3 2024 | UPDATED 08.06.24

The UK-based consumer electronics retailer reveals how it is using the latest tech to grow and build out its business model

As the largest consumer electronics retailer in the UK and Nordics, it was fitting that Alex Baldock, as Currys chief executive, was part of the opening keynote at Shoptalk Europe in Barcelona this week.

Baldock highlighted how the retailer is using technology to move with times and served as a fitting opening to the event, with its ‘retail reimagined’ theme, attracting over 3,000 retailers and brand decision makers.

This followed Currys’ announcement earlier this month that it is working with Accenture and Microsoft to deliver a core cloud technology infrastructure that will underpin its growing use of artificial intelligence (AI).

“Generative AI is going to change everything,” Baldock said during his keynote interview. “The question is, what and in what order? And at what pace?”

Solutions looking for problems

Currys is looking to use AI to improve its after sales customer experience and provide a hyper-personalised recommendation engine that will provide a differentiated level of self service.

“We've chosen our path, which I've recommended by the way, which is to be super-focused about it and to follow the money. We're not about a sexy tech use case,” Baldock explained.

“The two big areas that we're going to focus on first are the after sales customer experience, which is complex, multi-cross functional, and constantly improving. The second is selling to customers.”

Improving the online experience

The chief executive admitted that the retailer’s online offering needs to improve: “We are not nearly as good at selling services online as we are in-store.”

He added that Currys has also grown its credit business to 20 per cent of sales and that this has served as a proxy for transactional loyalty where these customers are more likely to return.

At the same time, its repairs and refurbishment business is also helping to drive loyalty and increase the circularity of its business model.

“We've got the largest repair facility in Europe… repairing everything from laptops to washing machines. It's hard work, but you have to make the most of your competitive advantages.”

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