Simon Introduces AI Tool to Help Shoppers Find Holiday Gifts

Mall owner Simon is enlisting artificial intelligence (AI) to help consumers with their holiday shopping this year.

The company on Thursday unveiled “HolidAI,” a new product powered by AI to help consumers find their perfect holiday gift. The free program will launch on Black Friday, which is Nov. 24, at Simon’s Roosevelt Field property in Garden City, New York and in Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, Calif. Specialized Simon employees, dubbed “helper elves,” will be available to assist shoppers with the technology, which is powered by ChatGPT 4.0 and has access to database of gift ideas from different retailers.

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“Shopping at our centers during the holiday season is always festive and we are excited to make the experience extra special this year with our Simon ‘helper elves’ who will be using customized AI technology to make gift finding easier for busy shoppers,” said Simon chief marketing officer Lee Sterling in a statement.

The program will be open for use every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 23, between 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time.

The “helper elves,” equipped with digital tablets, will be spread throughout the shopping centers and will assist customers on site by asking them to answer a series of AI-generated questions. They will also be “spreading cheer through impromptu singing and dancing performances to brighten an already festive holiday shopping experience,” a release from Simon said.

“We know our shoppers crave connecting in real life and finding joy in discovering the new and different,” said Sterling.

Simon in July rolled out “Simon Search,” a digital search innovation that facilitates store searchability and inventory confirmation across different malls. The tool is offered at 187 Simon destinations.

Simon announced earlier this month that it will keep most of its domestic properties closed on Nov. 23, or Thanksgiving Day this year. The company did not confirm which or how many properties would be open on Thanksgiving day this year. Last year, Simon closed all but two of its properties in Las Vegas on Thanksgiving day: Forum Shops at Caesars and Shops at Crysals.

For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, Simon’s net income attributable to common stockholders was $594.1 million, or $1.82 a diluted share, as compared to $539 million, or $1.65 a diluted share in 2022. Last quarter’s net income included non-cash after-tax gains of $118.1 million, or 32 cents a diluted share, primarily due to the partial sale of the company’s ownership interest in its SPARC Group joint venture to Shein in the third quarter.

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