AI in eCommerce introduces exciting new parameters for growth and customer reach. And it's here to stay.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, as the old saying goes– you will by now have heard at least something about the new AI wonder that is ChatGPT. Bloggers, businesses and entrepreneurs are very excited about this new research tool! And you should be, too.
Let’s find out why.
What is ChatGpt– and Why Should I Care?
If you are in ecommerce, or even thinking about getting started in it– there is huge opportunity to grow your business with AI (Artificial Intelligence) right now. You need to become aware of all the possibilities, investigate them– and then begin implementing.
We are going to discuss the main ways in which you can employ ChatGPT's capabilities for your online store.
You simply can’t let this new resource go to waste! And it’s still early days.
I think you’ll agree that as eCommerce business owners, our end game is always to increase sales, and you can use ChatGPT to help you achieve that. There is so much potential in its applications, but my focus in this piece is going to be on product validation and descriptions.
When Did ChatGPT Arrive on the Scene?
So, you might have heard your friends or co-workers talking about ChatGPT, or you might have seen it all over social media and YouTube-- because it absolutely blew up on those channels. Everybody in the creative space seemed to be talking about it– and for good reason.
ChatGPT only launched very recently– in November 2022 to be exact, and in a span of just five days it gained over a million users!
The consensus seemed to be that this new tool was amazingly fast– and scarily accurate and thorough. Notably, ChatGPT has been hailed as the ‘Google killer’, because of its length and breadth of ‘knowledge’ - of the AI type, of course.
I have been experimenting with it a lot ever since it launched, and my eyes have been opened to what it could mean for my stores, and how I reach my customers. ChatGPT’s tagline is “Save Time, Get Creative”-- and that’s just what I needed! I’m all for getting creative, and I never seem to have enough time.
In the life of an entrepreneur, the clock means very little!
AI in eCommerce -- Getting Started With ChatGPT
Now, before you start getting restless, thinking that things are about to get all tech-y and complicated– I can tell you that they absolutely will not! In fact, just the opposite.
Starting with ChatGPT is as simple as:
- 1Going to chat.openai.com. There, you’ll be asked to create a free account, and you'll be taken to a chat bot of sorts-- where you can ask it to perform tasks and answer questions for you.
- 2Testing it out by asking it any topic that you’d normally ‘ask’ Google– for example, history or pop culture questions. Or, anything you want to know about starting an online business! (since you're here).
- 3Waiting a few seconds-- and seeing your answer fill the page in record speed and fluent detail!
ChatGPT vs Google
What makes ChatGPT especially useful is that it operates on generative AI– meaning that it can generate new content-- rather than just plain referencing existing content, as you would find in Google. You can ask ChatGPT to write something oddly specific– and it will produce it for you.
Just for fun, I typed in "What is there to like about llamas?". In less than 15 seconds, I got a 200+ word detailed response from ChatGPT-- covering all aspects from their innate cuteness to their long-standing cultural significance in certain parts of the world. Impressive!
Rather nicely, it also doesn't feel like you're talking to a robot– which is what makes this tool so valuable. It’s going to generate human-like information that claims to be legal, safe, and socially sensitive. You just need to find a way of fine-tuning your requests, or prompts for information. And, if you're not completely happy with your first response, go ahead and type in "Could you expand on that?", or ask for a different answer via "Regenerate response". And, voila- it'll comply with your request. You could keep on going-- until it runs out of fresh information to give you on any subject matter.
On balance, ChatGPT is not perfect and should be approached as such. In the case of eCommerce, I view it as a tool to help you discover niches and present your products to them in the best way. Think of it as a framework that elaborates on your ideas, and assists you in your creativity.
A word of warning: Never just copy verbatim what it produces, if you are planning to use the material in your store, say as product descriptions. Not tweaking your material-- even a little bit-- has all the potential to negatively impact your shop's Google rankings, because Google rewards originality. Also, you want your own voice as the shop seller to come through, even in a small way that will make you stand out from other sellers. Go that extra mile.
Also, when in doubt about anything ChatGPT has generated in response to a request, take the time to do a fact-check. It costs nothing but could save you hassle down the line in any number of ways. Also, it's just good practice to be factual and not misleading.
See the table below from the open.ai site that explains ChatGPT's main limitations:
ChatGPT has limitations, but will no doubt evolve to address them
Practical Applications of ChatGPT AI for e-Commerce
Here are some examples of ways you can use ChatGPT AI for e-Commerce to help your business grow and earn income for you.
Validating Your Niche and Product Ideas
In previous posts, I have spoken of the importance of always first validating your product ideas before creating listings. In other words, you need to do some research to find items and ideas that are in demand.
We do this by using tools such as Erank to rate keywords and see what search volumes come up in relation to them. This is especially useful for Etsy sellers, and Erank has a myriad of tricks and tools of the trade that will give you an edge. For instance, you can spy on your competition’s use of keywords and their tags and corresponding sales. It’s very close to up-to-the-minute feedback-- and priceless!
In the same way, you could ask ChatGPT about what items sell best online, or even little-known niche ideas. You could literally lose hours playing around with its capabilities! Remember, however– that one of its limitations is recency of updates. Your information gleaned will not be as current as it would be from Erank or similar keyword applications like Sales Samurai.
I would therefore take a more general-knowledge approach to ChatGPT product-idea prompts, for example “Give me some good gifts for… (name hobby)”– until its development catches up, which I’m absolutely certain it will. We as online entrepreneurs should look forward to its evolution with great anticipation.
Improving Your Store's Product Descriptions
When using production partner integrations such as Printify and Printful (among others), whenever you list a product, the platform's native product description will be carried over with that product into your store. Handy, yes-- but there's a catch for this convenience: you're not going to be the only one using those descriptions, of course!
ChatGPT and Etsy Listings
I recently surveyed other shops on Etsy selling items similar to mine, and wouldn't you know it-- they're still featuring the original descriptions. Many, many of them. I wonder what buyers must think when they see this, if they're doing a bit of comparison shopping on Etsy? It doesn't really scream 'originality', does it? It also looks like a number of sellers are weirdly in cahoots, because all of their product descriptions match! You could forgive the buyers for thinking that they may as well have headed to the Big-Box store for their shopping! And that's not what Etsy is about.
By the way-- if you're really keen to get started selling on Etsy, or even if you've been there awhile-- you may wish to check out a course that I highly recommend. It's Nancy Badillo's Etsy Mastery Course, and she shares her best practice tips gained from years of experience. She also cares about her students very much, and is invested in their success.
I always recommend getting started on Etsy, because it's a search engine of its own, similar to Pinterest. People come to the sites with buyer intent-- possible even without the prompt of paid advertising. They are similar to warm leads, because on some level they are ready to make a purchase if they see a good value proposition attached to a product that they want or need.
I would like to impart that taking the time to research keywords and polish your product descriptions is going to do the heavy lifting for you in the long run. SEO, after all, lasts longer-- much longer than a paid ad. That organic reach is going to compound over time and get your products, and therefore your shop or website-- noticed.
Isn't it worth putting that effort in at the front end? I know I'd much rather do that, then wait months and months for little reward, because my descriptions were devoid of the 'hooks' needed to capture the attention of the search logorithms. In a recent post, I discussed (among other things) the crucial importance of SEO for getting found on the vast internet landscape. You can take a read of that here.
Some people love the process of research, while others, not so much! For the latter camp, I hope that they feel a solution for that pain point with the dawn of ChatGPT. It's like having a research assistant on hand, who can expand your own thought processes and help you keep pushing forward.
What about you: Have you tried out ChatGPT yet? If so, what did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Until next time,
About the Author
Dani Sherman, CEO at EcomGemini
Dani's been immersed in the online space for the past several years, and she knows what it takes to establish a presence on multiple e-commerce platforms. She would like to help you get started with your own strategy of running a successful online business. Her regular blog focuses on all things Print-On-Demand and eCommerce. So, check back often to see what's new, and to be inspired!
Even better, drop your name and email into the form below to subscribe-- and be kept in the loop when it comes to Print on Demand. When you sign up, you will also receive a free gift that intoduces you to your new best friend in all things creative -- Canva!