From Product Descriptions to Website positioning: How Retailers are Placing Generative AI to Use

Since OpenAI debuted ChatGPT somewhat over three months ago, “generative AI” has develop into a scorching matter and no business has been left untouched — least of all retail.  

“The developments in simply three months really feel like they need to have taken 10 years,” mentioned Darren Hill, Chief Digital Workplace at BrandX, which owns the Bon-Ton brand, amongst others, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Once you evaluate how shortly this factor goes to how shortly all people obtained on the web or how shortly all people obtained an iPhone, it’s night time and day. I truly suppose generative AI goes to be greater than the web or smartphones in ecommerce.”

All this pleasure is producing a disconcerting mixture of concern and urgency amongst retailers, however based on Hill that’s no motive to take a seat it out. “You’ve obtained to get in there,” he urged. “In any other case you’re like a championship horse racer who’s ignoring the automotive for so long as potential. Being scared doesn’t assist anyone, it simply means your competitor’s outdoing you.”

However how can retail professionals separate the hype from actuality? Given how shortly generative AI has gained widespread consideration , its preliminary hype cycle might already be giving approach to “a second smaller wave of the issues that really work,” based on Brian Hennessey, Co-founder and CEO of the AI-powered product info administration (PIM) answer Talkoot in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. Because the trial-and-error of generative AI performs out reside, some very actual, tangible use circumstances for retailers are starting to emerge, significantly with regards to the content material that types the meat of any digital commerce operation.

“My advocacy to my crew all the time has been that plenty of these items — 3D, VR, AR — are actually cool, however they may die on the vine, they usually’re not sometimes relevant to retailers instantly besides in small methods,” mentioned Rohan Deuskar, Founder and CEO of the visible merchandising answer Stylitics in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “[Generative AI] is totally different. How do you get anyone to purchase the $300 cashmere sweater versus the $50 sweater? The descriptions do matter, content material issues, phrases matter, and this new AI is extremely good at it.

And a complete host of manufacturers and retailers — together with Stitch Fix, Adidas, Hershey’s, Coca-Cola and Henry Rose — are already placing this new software to work throughout:

  • Product info administration, particularly creating product descriptions;
  • SEO; and
  • A variety of different copy-based duties together with advertising and promoting, customer support emails and social media posts (to not point out what occurs while you carry AI-generated imagery into the combination).

Product Descriptions: The Job Copywriters Don’t Need

In any job there’s some factor of drudgery, and for ecommerce professionals feeding the always-hungry beast of the web with product copy actually tops the checklist. As ecommerce has develop into a bigger piece of all manufacturers’ companies, that job has ballooned.

Earlier than launching Talkoot, Hennessey was the International Writing Director at Adidas within the time earlier than generative AI. “Adidas sells most likely 800 several types of white socks — one with somewhat blue stripe, one that’s ankle peak, one that’s barely greater, one which has extra cushion,” Hennessey mentioned. “You’d save that for like a Friday while you had been simply going to bust via that horrible, horrible job of writing 500 items of sock copy. It was completely mind-numbing. And that’s the form of stuff that AI is nice at — the bullet factors, Website positioning-optimized titles, every part like that. What that does then is it elevates the writers out of the trenches they usually’re in a position to do extra strategic work, writing on your high-profile launch merchandise for instance.”

Not solely should manufacturers have detailed product copy for their very own websites (already a monumental job), however many manufacturers additionally must adapt that textual content to satisfy the necessities of different platforms the place they promote reminiscent of Amazon.

BrandX’s Hill has trialed generative AI for simply that objective and famous that the enhancements in effectivity and velocity are unimaginable. In a single occasion he was in a position to generate the identical variety of product descriptions that it could have taken a author every week to prove in below 10 minutes. When producing copy at that scale, nonetheless, he cautioned that issues can “get a bit repetitive,” particularly if you happen to’re engaged on descriptions in a class with little or no distinction between the objects — like sun shades or, for that matter, socks.

“[Generative AI] works finest for merchandise the place you’re not attempting to alter conduct, you’re simply confirming that sure, these are the sorts of shirts that you simply’ve all the time worn and love, or for one thing like trail-running footwear the place the conduct and the necessity is already recognized,” mentioned Hennessey. “Once you’re attempting to alter conduct and [introduce] one thing new that can revolutionize [a category or experience], that completely wants a author to assist change minds and get folks excited.”

Most firms don’t have the employees to create product descriptions on the scale and velocity now required for contemporary commerce. Recognizing this, Shopify just lately launched a software to permit its retailers to create AI-generated product descriptions, and quite a few options already in market, like Talkoot, are constantly working with the most recent generative AI tech to evolve their choices as effectively.

As one would anticipate Amazon sellers, and the answer suppliers that help them, are additionally shortly leaping in, significantly as a result of Amazon listings are so formulaic whereas on the identical time being completely important to success on that platform. Jungle Scout simply introduced an integration with Open AI to create Amazon listings immediately, whereas quite a few different options exist solely for that objective.

Stitch Fix AI-generated product description.
Supply: Sew Repair

In the meantime, different extra technologically superior retailers are doing it in-house. Sew Repair is leveraging GPT-3 (the large-language AI mannequin that powers ChatGPT) for a variety of textual content era duties, together with product descriptions, and has seen “unbeatable time financial savings in addition to glorious scalability with out sacrificing the standard of descriptions,” mentioned Tianlin Duan, a Knowledge Scientist at Sew Repair in a latest blog.

Nonetheless, it’s vital to notice that Sew Repair hasn’t merely plugged in GPT-3 and let it run. The retailer is taking what it calls an “expert-in-the-loop” method, whereby copywriters and merchandisers are nonetheless closely concerned in reviewing and enhancing the “algo-generated” content material. The change for them is that they now work off this generated copy as a substitute of writing new content material from scratch. “This human expert-in-the-loop method permits us to leverage the creativity and effectivity of generative AI whereas nonetheless sustaining human oversight,” mentioned Duan.

Taking part in the Website positioning Recreation

One trickle-down impact of getting extra (and extra detailed) product copy is the constructive affect it may possibly have on search rankings. “When you’re working with the identical product as plenty of different folks, it’s horrible for Website positioning as a result of Google instantly is aware of you have got the identical product as all people else, and also you get no credit score for it,” mentioned Hill. “Your product descriptions on plenty of stuff don’t must be the perfect, they only must be totally different, and that’s the place [generative AI] is tremendous highly effective.”

Utilizing AI to generate variations in product copy and to replace that replicate often can have a huge effect in beating out the competitors on-line. In truth, new research from BrightEdge discovered that whereas solely 10% of enterprise entrepreneurs use AI at this time, 58% plan to make use of it for Website positioning and content material era in 2023.

This enthusiasm is comprehensible provided that each Amazon and Google rank latest or “contemporary” content material greater, one thing that Hershey’s has capitalized on with the assistance of Talkoot. “You purchase Hershey’s for various causes throughout Easter than you do in the summertime or round Christmas or Halloween,” defined Hennessey. “And for every totally different bundle dimension you have got totally different causes to make use of it — you don’t purchase a 10-pound bag of Hershey’s Kisses on your personal use, you’re most likely going to make use of it for baking, and also you bake various things in the summertime than you do round Christmas.

Simply updating your content material each quarter will aid you rank greater to start with, however then if you happen to truly match search intent — so [that] if Google acknowledges that individuals are looking for vacation cookie recipes proper now and also you launch contemporary content material that claims how nice your product is for vacation cookies, that can aid you rank greater in each Amazon and Google,” Hennessey added. “It’s actually about creating that up-to-the-minute, contemporary content material on a regular basis, which was approach too costly earlier than.”

E mail, Social Media and Past

Whereas product descriptions are a sensible, scalable utility for generative AI at retail, Lori Schafer, CEO of the product expertise administration (PXM) answer Digital Wave Technology, mentioned she doesn’t suppose it’s the “most compelling” use case. On a latest webinar with Coresight Research she pointed to different, extra superior makes use of that she finds much more thrilling, reminiscent of automating the tagging of product “attributes” (dimension, shade, form, type, and many others.), which is vitally vital to an internet site’s CX, however “very laborious” when achieved manually.

One other space ripe for AI automation is the creation of product copy throughout your entire buyer journey. “Each product has a narrative, and also you’ve obtained to match that to the customers’ life-style so the buyer can think about how that product’s going to be part of their life,” mentioned Schafer. “It’s all about giving the shoppers that nice expertise [on every channel]. On an internet site you want a complete lot of content material — romance copy, descriptions, movies, pictures — however you go to TikTok and also you want one video, you go to Instagram and also you want an image and a press release. This [technology] can robotically decide which components of that product story go to which of the varied digital commerce channels.”

Stitch Fix AI-generated ad headline.
Supply: Sew Repair

In truth, earlier than it began utilizing GPT-3 for its product descriptions, Sew Repair first honed the software through the use of it to put in writing advert headlines somewhat than having copywriters manually create new headlines for each promoting asset. Michelle Pfeiffer’s rising ecommerce perfume model Henry Rose has achieved the identical in partnership with world advert tech company Constellation, leveraging the know-how to deploy tons of of personalised iterations of inventive property based mostly on demographics and geographies throughout Meta, TikTok, Google and programmatic. The outcomes have been spectacular — the Constellation-generated adverts introduced in 83.2% extra prospects and elevated web site visits by 73.1%, with a 12.6% enchancment in return on advert spend (ROAS).

And as McKinsey just lately identified, as a result of “placing gold” on social could be a numbers recreation, the extra content material you produce, the higher your possibilities of hitting the mark. Not solely can AI-generated content material save time, however as a result of AI can acknowledge patterns and traits on social sooner than a human, it may possibly extra readily create new content material that does simply that.

Hill additionally pointed to extra mundane content material that, whereas much less thrilling, is vitally vital to a enterprise, reminiscent of privateness insurance policies, triggered emails to replace prospects on their orders and even to suss out fraud. To make certain, the huge potential of generative AI may be overwhelming, so on the outset Jill Standish of Accenture recommends that retailers begin through the use of AI “across the large chunks of the place your working capital goes.”

“The very last thing a retailer wants proper now could be to gamble on buyer service-related points with know-how that’s but to be fairly confirmed,” Standish mentioned in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Use it for issues that make [your business] extra environment friendly and take value out. That’s the place it’s going to be an absolute necessity, after which mess around with a few of these conversational AI options. The very last thing [any retailer] wants proper now could be to chop prices and [in the process] reduce issues the place the buyer goes to note and that can affect customer support.”

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