You may have seen everyone harping on about the ChatGPT release and what it means for the future of content. If you’ve noticed your marketing or content team staring into the distance looking worried, it may be because they’ve convinced themselves that they’ll soon be irrelevant in the wake of an AI content generation tool.
Thankfully, I am not sure we have quite reached the point of what I am dubbing “the skynet of marketing” and the end of human endeavours, but it’s certainly an interesting tool to play with, and the results can be anything from informative to hilarious.
What is ChatGPT?
Well, I could explain to you what ChatGPT is, but where’s the fun in that? Instead of me trying to look intelligent and informed, I’ve simply farmed that task out to my local AI and asked it the question.
Q: Explain ChatGPT
A: ChatGPT is a chatbot trained using the GPT-3 (Generative Pretrained Transformer 3) model. GPT-3 is a state-of-the-art language model that uses deep learning techniques to generate human-like text. It can be fine-tuned for a variety of tasks, including chatbot applications. ChatGPT is designed to converse with users in a natural, human-like way, using the vast amounts of text data that GPT-3 has been trained on. It can answer questions, provide information, and engage in conversation on a wide range of topics.
Make sense? So ChatGPT has trawled all sorts of information and is here to help us get answers to any and all questions we might have. It’s worth bearing in mind that ChatGPT can’t tell the future (I tried), has limited knowledge of the world, has no access to the internet and only has information up to 2021.
Let’s put my efforts to win the lottery to one side and see if we can get some helpful information or examples of how ChatGPT can be used to support ecommerce and Shopify merchants.
ChatGPT for Email Marketing
There is the potential for ChatGPT to support you in any area of content production and email is no exception. With the rise of automation in email marketing, there may be a requirement to produce a significant amount of content, and if you are a resource-strapped business, lack of time may be your biggest challenge.
Our email team decided to pick one of the biggest Shopify brands in the world, Gymshark, and see if we could use our new AI friend to produce a welcome email for all new subscribers.
Q: write a welcome email in the style of Gymshark
A: Hi there,
Welcome to the Gymshark family! We’re so excited to have you on board.
At Gymshark we’re committed to empowering and inspiring our community to reach their fitness goals. We believe that when you look good, you feel good, and that’s why we design high-quality, performance-driven athletic wear that helps you perform at your best.
As a member of our community, you’ll receive access to exclusive deals and promotions, as well as the latest news and updates from Gymshark. You’ll also be able to connect with other members of the community and share your fitness journey with like-minded people.
We can’t wait to see what you accomplish with Gymshark by your side. Keep an eye on your inbox for more information about how to get the most out of your membership.
Welcome to the team:
The Gymshark Team
Not bad, not bad at all. Don’t get me wrong, this is not perfect. I am sure if the team at Gymshark saw this, there would be lots of nuance in terms of tone of voice and positioning that wouldn’t be quite right. However, is there an opportunity for new brands to utilise tech like this to get the foundations of the content they need that they can build on and adapt?
Let’s try another one for email marketing.
Q: write a subject line for an abandoned cart email in the style of Gymshark
A: Don't miss out on your GymShark gear! Complete your order now
Again, would this be perfect for Gymshark? That’s something you’d have to ask Ben Francis and the team, but as a starting point for your average direct-to-consumer brand, this isn’t bad at all.
ChatGPT for Google Ads
Let’s stop picking on Gymshark for a moment and try another mammoth brand to see what ChatGPT can do for us. Google Ads is another area where automation is already being pushed. Many of Google’s new ad products are pushing you to use auto-generated content based on your website, so how different is ChatGPT really?
Get ready for it. The latest collab between Nike and ChatGPT:
Q: Write a Google Ad in the style of Nike
A: Unleash your potential with Nike. Shop the latest performance gear and reach your goals today!
Q: Write a Google Ad for a new pair of Air Jordans
A: Step up your style with the latest Air Jordan sneakers. Get your pair now and elevate your look.
A little short and sweet maybe, but if I needed to produce hundreds of variations of ads with limited resources, I may consider visiting my friendly neighbourhood AI.
ChatGPT for Social Media
The social media landscape has changed rapidly in recent years with video and short form content reigning supreme, but the captions and copy still have importance. Be careful of using this on Twitter. We have to remember that Elon Musk is on a rampage to remove all bots from his platform, so he won’t be happy if he finds that a bot is living its life vicariously through a human host.
Moving on from Nike, let’s see how ChatGPT gets on with writing some social media posts for one of our own clients, Absolute Collagen.
Q: Write an Instagram caption in the style of Absolute Collagen
A: Say hello to your best skin yet with Absolute Collagen. Try it now and see the difference for yourself #AbsoluteCollagen
Q: Write a tweet about haircare in the style of Absolute Collagen
A: Say goodbye to dull, damaged hair and hello to luscious locks with Absolute Collagen's haircare line. Try it now and see the difference for yourself #HairCare #AbsoluteCollagen
Q: Write a Facebook post about the benefits of collagen in the style of Absolute Collagen
A: Did you know that collagen is the key to youthful, radiant skin? At Absolute Collagen, we believe in the power of this amazing protein to support healthy, glowing skin. Try our collagen supplements and see the difference for yourself #AbsoluteCollagen #Collagen
I’m not sure Absolute will look at replacing their incredible social team with a machine right away, but with zero knowledge, we have some broad brush benefits of collagen consumption and some generic content that could be pushed out with most people not recognising it was written by a bot.
ChatGPT for SEO
Final one, and I’m going to be selfish and save our content and SEO team some time right here at Eastside. Content has always been king for SEO and high-quality content production will always be a key indicator of how your site should rank in search engines.
Instead of using the expertise of our team, I’ve decided to ask ChatGPT to write me a blog post about SEO for ecommerce websites. Let's see what it has to offer.
Q: Write a blog post about SEO for ecommerce websites
A: As an ecommerce business owner, you know how important it is to have a strong online presence in order to reach your customers and drive sales. One key aspect of building that presence is search engine optimization, or SEO.
SEO is the practice of optimizing your website to improve its ranking in search engine results. This is important because the higher your website ranks, the more likely it is that people will find it when they search for products or services like yours.
So how do you optimize your ecommerce website for SEO? Here are some key tips:
Do keyword research to identify the terms that people are using to search for products like yours. Include these keywords in your website's content and metadata (such as page titles and descriptions) to signal to search engines what your website is about.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. More and more people are using their phones to search for products online, so it's important that your website looks good and is easy to use on a mobile device.
Use high-quality product images and descriptions. These are important not only for attracting customers, but also for helping search engines understand what your website is about.
Use unique, descriptive URLs for each product page. This makes it easier for search engines to understand what each page is about, and also makes it easier for people to share and link to your products.
Build high-quality backlinks to your website. Search engines use links to your website as a signal of its quality and relevance. So, the more high-quality websites that link to yours, the better your website will rank in search results.
By implementing these SEO strategies, you can improve the visibility of your ecommerce website and drive more traffic and sales. As with any aspect of digital marketing, it's important to continually monitor and adjust your SEO efforts to ensure that you're getting the best possible results.
This is pretty impressive. Decent content, if a little generic; a numbered list of actionable recommendations, and everything seems to be pretty accurate.
ChatGPT for Website Development and Coding on Shopify
Now I’m not a developer, so can't test the full capability of ChatGPT to develop liquid code or any other coding language, but what I can test is if I can ask ChatGPT to help make some fairly simple development changes to a test site I have built using Shopify’s old Debut theme.
Let’s imagine for a moment that I want to add some nice animations to my buttons when a user hovers because I think it might help with the click-through rate. Instead of the button just changing colour on hover, I want them to enlarge slightly when the user hovers on them.
I tested this on my dummy store and...it worked. All buttons had a nice smooth zoom effect on hover.
What if we get slightly more complicated? I asked ChatGPT how to make the announcement bar slide in from the top on the Debut theme.
I followed the instructions given by ChatGPT and it didn’t work. I even tried regenerating the response, but again, no luck. With some investigation (and probably some help from a developer) I think I could have got the announcement bar to swoop in beautifully from the top of the screen, but that does make me question the use of ChatGPT in this scenario.
I would also add that the code you would have to write to perform any action on any site may well vary depending on how your site was built. In this scenario, I was using a popular free theme developed by Shopify. If you are on a custom-built solution or a theme that is not public, it’s likely that ChatGPT wouldn’t be able to help because it depends on publicly available information to deliver solutions to problems.
Even in the first example of the button, had my buttons been named anything other than “.btn” in the code, this wouldn’t have worked.
In essence, at this stage, ChatGPT may act as a convenient source of information for various snippets of code, but probably not any better than Google, and in all likelihood, less up-to-date in its solutions due to the fact it doesn’t have access to the internet and it’s information only goes up to 2021.
I’ll conclude this section with a large warning. Adding code to your Shopify store without fully understanding what that code is doing is a dangerous game. Even with simple changes, you don’t know what dependencies there might be and the full effect the code you are adding might have. I tested all of this code on a dummy store that wasn’t live and breaking it would have no impact. You should always consult someone who knows what they are doing or at a very minimum, test the code on a duplicate theme that isn't live before you commit to any changes. Also, if you have developers working on your store, they will be very frustrated if you change the code and your changes may get overwritten when they release their next update to your store.
Shopify Magic - AI-Generated Product Descriptions
In February 2023, Shopify released its own generative AI product to support merchants in writing product descriptions. Having an engaging product description can be the difference between a customer buying and not buying a product but if you have lots of products, building out these product descriptions can be a time-consuming task.
With Shopify Magic, merchants can list a few details or keywords and their product description will be written for them in a matter of seconds.
Shopify has said they plan to roll out Shopify Magic to even more elements of their admin system in the coming year. This means that there will be a whole host of AI-supported elements that will help merchants on Shopify launch more quickly.
We don’t recommend putting complete trust in any AI tool to write your product descriptions. Shopify Magic will be a great starter for ten, but make sure to have a process in place to review, enhance and optimise your descriptions over time.
Conclusion on ChatGPT for Ecommerce and Shopify
So this isn’t the be-all and end-all. It’s definitely fun to use and if anything better when you get a response that is not quite what you expected. There may be a case to utilise ChatGPT as a tool that helps you build some foundational content that you can adapt and expand.
Is ChatGPT going to replace the human element? Absolutely not, at least not in the short term. It would almost certainly pass the Turing test, but would likely need a lot of training and support to really get to grips with a brand's tone of voice, dos and don'ts, as well as their goals and mission as a business.
I recommend everyone spends a bit of time having a play around and seeing what use they might be able to find for the tool, but I recommend great caution. Open AI has been transparent about the fact the tool ‘may occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content’ which is not something you want to have out there. You should treat it with a healthy level of suspicion before handing over control to our new robot overlords.
Before I leave you, I thought I would let ChatGPT be me for a minute to sign off.
Q: Be a CMO named Louis
A: As a CMO named Louis, my primary focus would be on developing and implementing effective marketing strategies to promote the products or services of my organization. This would involve conducting market research to gain a deep understanding of our target audience, analyzing the competition, and identifying opportunities for growth.
I would also be responsible for overseeing the marketing team and ensuring that they have the resources and support they need to achieve our goals. This would involve setting clear objectives and KPIs, providing guidance and mentorship, and regularly tracking and reporting on our progress.
In addition to these core responsibilities, I would also be expected to play a key role in shaping the overall direction and vision of the organization, collaborating with other departments and stakeholders to drive business growth and success. This would involve staying up-to-date with industry trends and developments, and making informed, data-driven decisions to drive the success of our marketing efforts.
Well, now I know what I’m supposed to be doing day to day, I’d better get on with it. The only question we need an answer to now is: did I write this piece, or did ChatGPT do it for me?