AI has been working behind the scenes in eCommerce for years, used to power many of the tools businesses already rely on. But it’s safe to say it took center stage with the launch of ChatGPT - OpenAI’s experimental language model.
ChatGPT’s ability to generate natural sounding language and take part in interactive conversation had many people suggesting the end of human content creation. It also had a lot of people rallying against the use of AI for marketing purposes.
In our view, there’s a middle ground - where AI and human creativity work together to optimize content creation.
It’s a huge subject to tackle, but here’s our views on what AI can do, what it can’t, and how to strike the right balance.
Before we get into the AI vs. human creativity debate, let’s take a look at the type of content AI can throw out for eCommerce businesses.
Like we say, it’s a huge topic, and this list is by no means exhaustive - but these are some of the areas where we see AI as being most beneficial:
Product descriptions: if you’ve got a large catalog, manually writing product descriptions is time consuming. It’s also hard to maintain consistency. What AI can do is analyze product attributes, specifications and other relevant information to generate detailed and standardized descriptions for each SKU.
Customer service chatbots: fast and responsive support is a standard customer expectation, and AI powered chatbots can help by generating a basic level of support content in real-time. Think answers to common queries like order tracking and returns policies.
Review replies: a review reply is a powerful piece of content that shows how much you value customer opinion and satisfaction, especially when it offers a solution to a problem. That said, it’s not always easy to find the words. AI can help by generating personalized replies for inspiration.
Social media posts: when it comes to your socials, AI can assist in the consistent creation of engaging content. By analyzing trending topics and market data, AI algorithms can suggest content ideas and even generate post captions.
Personalized search and recommendations: this is an area where AI really shines. By learning from user behavior, purchase history and browsing patterns, AI powered product recommendation engines can enhance the shopping experience with personalized suggestions.
Email marketing content: another tick in the personalization box, AI can generate tailored email campaigns based on customer data and segmentation.
Landing page content, FAQs, ad copy - AI can help with pretty much any type of content you can think of. The key is understanding what it is and isn’t capable of, so you can leverage it to enhance the output of your marcomms team.
What we know for sure about eCommerce content is that it's both critical and time consuming. If you’re dealing with a vast number of products and/or a high volume of customer interactions, every word is time your marcomms team could be spending on your wider creative strategy.
With AI, you can efficiently scale up content generation, saving valuable time and resources.
Even the most creative minds run short of ideas sometimes, but with AI there’s a constant source of inspiration at hand.
OK, so its ideas are always based on what’s already out there, but even still, AI is great at throwing out prompts that content creators and marketeers can feed off.
AI is a game changer when it comes to personalization, and can be used to significantly enhance the customer experience.
Using data on customer behavior, preferences and historical interactions, AI can tailor content to match each individual's interest and needs.
As it can in other areas of eCommerce, AI can automate repetitive content tasks, freeing up resources to work on more important things.
This extends beyond your marcomms too. Take your customer service team for example. With AI powered chatbots handling routine inquiries, your support agents are free to focus on more complex issues that need human intervention.
Of course AI’s greatest gift is its ability to process and analyze large datasets at speed, giving you the insight you need to produce high quality content.
As an example, sentiment analysis algorithms can mine customer reviews and social media data to identify key themes that relate to your brand and products. You can then adopt those themes for your marcomms, and create content that resonates with your target market.
AI generated content relies on patterns and historical data. That means it lacks genuine creativity, and unlike humans, can never come up with truly authentic and original ideas.
So, for instance, while AI can quickly generate a high volume of detailed product descriptions, it takes the imaginative flair of a skilled copywriter to make those descriptions stand out, and ensure they capture the attention of the reader.
Humor, irony, sarcasm - these are all things that AI struggles to grasp, making AI generated content somewhat one-dimensional. It also lacks the ability to respond to the here and now, like a breaking news story or an unexpected event.
Human content creators on the other hand know their audience and what’s happening around them. They ‘read the room’ so to speak, using the nuances of language and social context to craft content that’s compelling, entertaining and of the moment.
If you want to be successful in the eCommerce space you need a strong brand identity, and that is driven in large part by your tone of voice.
While AI can generate content based on the guidelines you give it, it can’t naturally embody your brand personality - that takes a human touch.
Good content connects with the customer on a personal level. It speaks to their wants, aspirations and pain points, sparking genuine emotions and driving brand affinity.
To create these narratives requires emotional intelligence. So while AI generated content is efficient and personalized, it is never ‘personal’, and lacks the impact human created content can deliver.
Here’s our answer: Yes, but only to enhance, never to replace human talent and creativity.
Take our Reply with AI feature for example. This automatically generates review responses for you, which you can then tweak to add in your own authentic voice. It was never designed to replace a human support agent, but rather as a tool to improve efficiency and offer inspiration.
Similarly, our new AI Assistant is designed to do the heavy lifting so you can focus on the bigger picture.
Of all the capabilities of AI Assistant, one in particular is useful for content creation. You can ask it to identify common themes and patterns in customer reviews - like recurring pain points or particularly beneficial product features - to feed into everything from product descriptions to social media posts.
As we said at the start, it’s all about balance. AI helps you streamline processes, enhance personalization and gain valuable insights from data, while human content creators bring unique perspectives, emotional intelligence and authentic storytelling to the table.
Have an opinion on AI and its place in eCommerce marcomms? We’d love to hear your thoughts. We’re always looking to leverage new technologies for your benefit, so if there’s an idea you're sitting on let us know - our development team might be able to turn it into a reality. Utilise our AI tools to for free with our 14-day trial.