On Amazon, eBay, and Shopify, AI is the new third-party seller

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The Amazon Echo Show 8 is revealed during the Amazon Devices and Services Event at the HQ2 Campus in Arlington, Virginia on Wednesday, September 20, 2023. Amazon.com Inc. showcased a new push in generative artificial Intelligence with its Alexa voice-assistant. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

You may be among the millions of Americans who just purchased an item during the two-day Amazon Prime deals event. Amazon said that Prime members purchased more than 150,000,000 items from third-party vendors. It didn’t release much more data on the big retail event, and among the things we can’t know for sure is how much generative AI programs may have helped sellers do an even better job of pitching their products than in previous years.

We do know for sure that getting a leg up on the competition is getting easier for e-commerce platform sellers through the latest AI.

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. These tools are designed to help sellers make more sales while reducing the amount of effort and anxiety they have to put in. Amazon, for example, recently rolled out a generative AI tool to help sellers write more robust and effective product descriptions. Amazon, for example, recently rolled out a generative AI tool to help sellers write more robust 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 it did a very good job of writing product listings for items he wanted to sell on

Meta

‘s Facebook Marketplace.These tools can “spit out the perfect product listing for you that is optimized to your customer base,” says Chris Jones, chief executive and co-founder of AMNI, an AI-powered platform that streamlines procurement, manufacturing and distribution.It’s obviously early days in the use of AI for e-commerce, and there will be some big hits and misses — as well as risks for any seller than blindly relies on AI. Here’s what sellers need to know about using AI to sell more effectively.

Business owners shouldn’t feel the need to be writers

Creating high-quality e-commerce content often doesn’t come naturally to sellers. It can be difficult for sellers to come up with compelling titles, bullets and descriptions. The blank screen can be intimidating for sellers. Amazon claims that it will save sellers time and effort

Sellers on Amazon’s competitive third-party marketplace

need to provide a brief description of their product to allow its new AI tool to generate high-quality content for them to review.

Amazon says it will save sellers time and effort

Sellers on

Amazon

‘s competitive third-party marketplace need to provide a brief description of their product in order to allow its new AI tool to generate high-quality content for them to review. They can, for example, plug in the product name and if it has variations or a brand name. Amazon’s models are trained to deduce product information based on a variety of sources. They can, for example, infer that a table’s specifications include a diameter. Customers will find more complete product information, as the new technology will help sellers provide richer information with less effort,” the company stated. Customers will find more complete product information, as the new technology will help sellers provide richer information with less effort,” the company stated.At eBay, an image is often the starting pointeBay

is also working on tools to auto-generate item descriptions, and a revamped image-based “magical” listing tool that leverages AI.

The tool allows sellers to take or upload a photo in the eBay app — only available in Apple’s iOS for the time being — and let AI do the work. According to a blog post by the company, AI can use a photo as a starting point for writing titles, descriptions, and adding important information such as the product release date, detailed categories and subcategories. The company also said that it can be combined with eBay’s existing technology to provide a suggested listing price and shipping costs. Employees are testing the latest version of this tool, which incorporates upgrades to an earlier iteration, based on feedback from customers. In a blog post, the company stated that they expect to release the revamped product to the public within the next few months. Shopify shows that AI can do much more than help with product listings. “Many people don’t consider using AI as their CFO, to analyze data or to do competitive research,” Mercer stated. AI is becoming more powerful than simply writing product descriptions. As Harvard Business School AI expert Karim Lakhani said recently at the CNBC Small Business Playbook, every small business should use generative AI. “I think about ChatGPT as a thought partner, lowering the cost of cognition and new ideas,” Lakhani said.

Shopify, for example, announced its AI tool Shopify Magic this past summer. The company says it’s a set of AI-enabled tools integrated into the Shopify platform and designed specifically to enhance commerce. Merchants receive contextually-relevant support for a range of tasks related to store building, marketing, customer support and back-office management.

For example, merchants can create email campaigns using just a few keywords. They get persuasive subject lines, appealing content and recommended send times to achieve more effective click-through rates, according to a company video.

Shopify Magic also drafts custom replies for a business’s more common customer questions, allowing the merchant to review and edit the content. A spokeswoman said that another feature creates blog posts for holidays, business milestones or campaign ideas. This includes the ability to customize the tone of voice and translate the content into different languages. Another feature creates blog posts for holidays, business milestones or campaign ideas — including the ability to customize the tone of voice and translate the content into different languages, according to a spokeswoman.

“AI creates an environment where an entrepreneur’s expertise, brand, and product can shine, and will help them take something from idea to reality much faster than previously possible,” said Miqdad Jaffer, the company’s director of product, in an email.

Platform-specific tools may get the best sales results

Some sellers use consumer-facing applications such as

Microsoft-backed ChatGPT from OpenAI and Google’s rival chatbot Bard — both companies also offer business versions of the AI tools now — to help ease the burden of creating better product listings, but e-commerce professionals said platform-specific tools may be more effective, since they are tailored for that particular platform.

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That said, using broadly available tools — whether it is for product listings, analysis of customer reviews, advertising campaigns or financial reporting — would still be better than doing it on your own, Mercer said. Platform-specific tools may be more effective

Some sellers use consumer-facing applications such as

Microsoft

-backed ChatGPT from OpenAI and Google’s rival chatbot Bard to help ease the burden of creating better product listings. However, ecommerce professionals said that platform specific tools are likely to get the best results, since they are tailored for that particular platform.