At Amazon, eBay and Shopify, AI is the new third-party provider

The Amazon Echo Show 8 smart home device will be unveiled on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, during the Amazon Devices and Services event at the HQ2 campus in Arlington, Virginia, USA. Inc. previewed a foray into generative artificial intelligence with new features for its Alexa voice assistant. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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You may be one of the millions of Americans who just purchased an item during the two-day Amazon Prime Deals event. Has AI helped convince you to spend money?

According to Amazon, Prime members purchased more than 150 million items from third-party sellers. Not much more data has been released about the big retail event, and among other things, we can’t know for sure to what extent generative AI programs have helped sellers promote their products even better than in previous years.

We know for sure that the latest AI is making it increasingly easier for e-commerce platform sellers to stand out from the competition.

Generative AI tools – offered by e-commerce platforms, marketplaces and private companies – can help with some of the more labor-intensive, time-consuming and mundane tasks that sellers tend to hate. The goal of using these tools is to drive more sales with less effort – and anxiety – on the part of sellers.

AI can be used for many things, from writing effective product lists to data analysis, but lately there has been more focus on the product listing side. Amazon, for example, recently entered the market a generative AI tool to help sellers write more descriptive and effective product descriptions.

A New York Times tech reviewer who recently tried out the latest version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which can “see, hear and speak,” said this was the case A very good job writing product lists for articles he wanted to sell on Meta‘s Facebook Marketplace.

These tools can “spit out the perfect product list for you, optimized for your customer base,” says Chris Jones, CEO and co-founder of AMNI, an AI-powered platform that streamlines sourcing, manufacturing and distribution.

The use of AI for e-commerce is obviously still in its early stages, and there will be some major successes and failures – but also risks for any seller who blindly relies on AI. Here’s what salespeople need to know about using AI to sell more effectively.

Entrepreneurs shouldn’t feel the need to be writers

For sellers, creating high-quality e-commerce content often doesn’t come naturally. There is a need to create compelling product titles, bullet points, and descriptions, which can be time-consuming and frustrating for salespeople who don’t have natural writing skills or the time to devote to these efforts. For salespeople, it can be daunting to sit in front of a blank screen and figure out what to write.

Not only do they need to describe their product, but they also need to create a product that is also well optimized for Amazon’s search algorithms so that it gets good exposure, said Greg Mercer, CEO and founder of Jungle Scout, a platform that helps sellers to start and scale your e-commerce business.

AI can reduce these mundane listing tasks that might have taken some sellers three to five hours to complete into seconds or minutes, Mercer said.

Amazon says it will save sellers time and effort

seller up AmazonThe highly competitive third-party marketplace must provide a brief description of its product so that its new AI tool can generate high-quality content for review. For example, you can enter the item name and whether the product has variations and a brand name. Amazon’s models learn to derive product information from various sources. For example, you can conclude that a table is round if the specifications specify a diameter. Models could also infer the collar style of a shirt based on the image, the company said a blog post about the AI ​​startup.

“A more detailed product description not only saves sellers time, but also helps improve the shopping experience. Customers will find more comprehensive product information as new technology helps sellers provide more comprehensive information with less effort,” the company said.

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On eBay, a picture is often the starting point

Ebay is also working on tools to automatically generate item descriptions and a revamped image-based “magic” listing tool that leverages AI.

The tool allows sellers to take or upload a photo in the eBay app – currently only available in Apple’s iOS – and let the AI ​​do the work. Starting from the starting point of a photo, the AI ​​can write titles and descriptions and add important information such as the product release date, a detailed category and a subcategory a company blog post. It can also be combined with other eBay technologies to suggest a listing price and shipping costs, the company said.

This latest version, which includes upgrades to a previous version based on customer feedback, is being tested by staff. The company said in the blog post that it expects to release the revamped tool to the public in the coming months.

Shopify shows how AI works for much more than just product lists

AI can help sellers do much more than just product listings. “A lot of people don’t think about using AI as a CFO and analyzing data for them or helping with competitive research,” Mercer said. “AI is becoming more and more powerful than just writing product lists.”

As Harvard Business School AI guru Karim Lakhani recently said at the CNBC Small Business Playbook event, every small business owner should be using generative AI. “I see ChatGPT as a thought partner that lowers the cost of insight and new ideas,” said Lakhani.

ShopifyFor example, the company announced its Shopify Magic AI tool last summer. It is a suite of AI-powered features integrated across the Shopify platform and designed specifically to improve commerce, the company said. Retailers receive context-related support for a variety of tasks related to store construction, marketing, customer service and back office management.

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For example, merchants can create email campaigns with just a few keywords. According to one company, they get compelling subject lines, engaging content, and recommended send times to drive more effective click-through rates Video.

Shopify Magic also creates custom answers to a business’s more common customer questions, allowing the merchant to review and edit the content. These answers are then automatically shared with customers who ask questions, eliminating the need for a merchant to respond in real time. Another feature creates blog posts for holidays, business milestones or campaign ideas — including the ability to customize the tone and translate the content into different languages, according to a spokeswoman.

“AI creates an environment in which an entrepreneur’s expertise, brand and product can shine and will help them turn the idea into reality much faster than before,” said Miqdad Jaffer, the company’s product director, in an E -Mail.

Platform-specific tools may produce the best sales results

Some sellers use consumer-facing applications such as: Microsoft-powered OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s rival chatbot Bard – both companies now also offer business versions of the AI ​​tools – to ease the burden of creating better product listings, but e-commerce experts said platform-specific tools may since be more effective They are tailored to the respective platform.

However, it would still be better to use widely available tools – whether for product listings, customer review analysis, advertising campaigns or financial reporting – than to do it yourself, Mercer said.

“They don’t need anything that can help them.” [human] “It will be about leveraging resources but achieving the same speed and scale,” says Margo Kahnrose, chief marketing officer of Skai, a data, insights and marketing technology provider.

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