How Brands Will Harness The Power Of Generative AI in 2023

Matt Schlicht (CEO of Octane AI)
February 17, 2023


People are talking about AI everywhere. It's being discussed in your favorite publications, social media newsfeeds, and in your team chat.

One thing is crystal clear - 2023 is the year brands get to start fully leveraging the power of AI.

What is generative AI? How will AI help you grow your business?

I'm going to tell you right now.

"There's no question that AI will impact ecommerce in 2023. AI in its current nascent form is already helping marketers write content and interact with customers. It can even do "photo shoots" with your products. The net effect of this technology will be an increase in velocity for ecommerce brands who leverage it. And the impact of AI will only continue to evolve as developers find new ways to use it. 2023 may just be "The Year of AI" for ecommerce."
- Carson McComas, CEO of Fuel Made

What Is Generative AI?

You've heard of AI before. "That's what powers newsfeeds like TikTok, right?"

100%. Every major social network leverages artificial intelligence to create personalized feeds of content and ads.

But today we're talking about "generative AI", and it is a whole different type of technology.

"Artificial intelligence (AI) is already having a significant impact on ecommerce and is likely to continue to do so in the future. Personalization: Analyze customer data and preferences to provide personalized recommendations and tailored shopping experiences. Chatbots and customer service Fraud detection Inventory management Marketing and advertising Overall, AI is likely to continue to have a significant impact on ecommerce in the coming years as businesses look to leverage its capabilities to improve efficiency, increase sales, and provide a better customer experience."
- Ben Schreiber, Founder of Brand Caffeine

Here is a simple explanation: Generative AI allows you to have a computer generate text, images, and video, that have never existed before. You tell the AI what you want to create and it creates it.

You can even use generative AI to analyze data.

Here's the type of content that generative AI can create:

  • Text
  • Code
  • Images
  • Video
  • Audio

Here's the type of content that generative AI can analyze:

  • Text
  • Code
  • Audio

"So how does it work though?" you are thinking.

Here's a high level explanation of how generative AI works:

The top generative AIs have been given access to billions of data points from the internet, such as blog posts, code, pictures, social media posts, articles, webpages, etc.

Basically it's like an AI has read over 10% of the internet. It is a mind boggling amount of information.

By consuming this large amount of data, these AIs can then look at a snippet of text and then predict what text is most likely to come next. This may sound simple but it is surprisingly powerful.

For example, if you pass the AI the text "Once upon a" it will predict that the next word is likely "time".

Or if you say "What pulls Santa's sleigh?" it will predict "Reindeer".

But you can go a step farther. You can give it instructions, such as "Write me a short paragraph about the importance of eating protein" and the AI will write you a paragraph. Every time you ask the AI to write this paragraph it will be written slightly differently.

This ability to interact with data in this manner opens up an entire world of possibilities for software development. Every single piece of software you use right now will be transformed, and new software you couldn't even have dreamed up will become part of your daily toolset.

"AI Apps will take off in 2023, specifically for content and marketing copy. I predict an abundance of generic content coming out from eCommerce companies looking to boost their SEO and "authority" in the space. i.e., A beauty company will have more blog posts talking about skincare ingredients and such. When previously companies had to pay for this type of content, now they don't have to. When previously small companies didn't have the budget for content, now they can play in the same league as bigger companies with funding. Same goes for marketing copy such as product descriptions, ads, and email copy. Apps that can help companies do this in a streamlined way (i.e., generate content and publish directly to the Shopify site) will win. That said, this abundance in generic content is also going to be an opportunity for choice companies to stand out with their non-generic content. Anyone who can leverage the speed and affordability of AI and still add their own twist/personality will go farther."
- Kat Garcia, Email and SMS Marketing Expert

The future is still being created right now, but here is a sneak peek into how AI is going to transform your business very very soon.

"AI has been around for a hot minute now, but we’re slowly seeing it become more mainstream with tools like chatGPT and such. The first phase, which I imagine might not last, is folks having AI write articles for them etc. The more exciting phase two of this is giving AI massive chunks of data and having it provide info or answer questions about said data, and that’s a wonderful direction to be heading towards."
- Eli Weiss, Sr Director of CX & Retention at Jones Road

How Generative AI Will Help You Grow Your Business

This is a quick look into the future. Some of these are available today, while some are right around the corner.

The businesses who embrace these tools the fastest will have the greatest advantage.

1. AI-Powered Copywriting

With AI-powered tools, brands can automate the process of creating and optimizing product descriptions, social media posts, and other types of content.

Simply type in what copy you need and let the AI handle the rest. The most advanced tools will do this for you without you even needing to ask.

"When you have something that can process a mass of information faster and more accurately than people can, we're able to use our creativity to dream up models/initiatives that create greater connection to our customers. I think the challenge/what is uncertain is if the models are going to be diverse enough to deliver differentiation for brands"
- Ande Sozzi, CEO and Co-Founder of L'AMARUE

AI can even analyze large amounts of data to determine the most effective messaging for different target audiences, helping to increase engagement and drive conversions.

"I see AI playing a huge role for marketers and copywriters. One of the things most folks struggle with the getting past the blank doc or through the shitty first draft stage. Spend the time to figure out how to give your AI tool the right instructions, and it'll give you a decent enough shitty first draft that you can then edit and hone. For those of us making use of AI tools to support our work - it's going to teach us to give clear directions because if there's one thing AI can't get, it's nuance. Need to send out a promotional campaign? Tell your AI tool the details, let it spit out a shitty first draft and then you go in and polish it up. While not the perfect solution, it could be a game changer in terms of resources or capacity for smaller brands."
- Samar Owais, Ecommerce Email Strategist

With AI you and your team will become more like managers and editors than pure copywriters.

"AI will continue to make ecommerce marketers more efficient and effective at their jobs in 2023. More marketing platforms are building AI functionality into their tech, making it easier to leverage without a change in processes or adoption of a new tool. A few examples include Klaviyo's new subject line assistant to help create grabby, must-open emails; enhanced natural language processing for more human-like chatbot interactions; and AI-enabled returns management to mitigate return rates with improved marketing or product design. I view AI less in a "the robots are coming for our jobs" kind of way, but instead as a set of tools that can increase the productivity of ecom operators by automating time-intensive busy work to allow a greater analytical focus on more impactful initiatives."
- Mandi Moshay, Director of Ecommerce 

2. AI-Powered Product Photography

Right now in order to get great product photography you have to have a photoshoot with your product. This often involves setting up an indoor shoot with lights, backdrops, props, people, and more, or outside in aesthetically pleasing environments.

And once you have taken your photos the only way to get make changes it to take new photos.

AI changes this completely.

"AI will impact ecommerce the same way it will impact every industry: it will force us all to work smarter. AI can be powerfully leveraged but it will only 'replace' the workforce to the extent that the advent of computers replaced the workforce at that time: it really didn't. You still need people to make AI work for you."
- Val Geisler, Customer Advocacy at Klaviyo

Imagine if you could take one photo of your product and then the AI could magically create any photo you wanted with that product. You want the shoes you are selling to be in the sand at the beach? On a mountain top? Falling in the sky amongst gold coins? The AI can generate these images for you in a matter of seconds.

"AI is already at a point where it can write passable copy for things like product descriptions and ads, and it'll only get better. The proliferation of more accessible (if not a little bland) copywriting will mean brands need to do some soul searching around how they're going to set themselves apart. The key will be in knowing the brand, their voice, the customer motivations and therefore what to prompt AI writing tools to create for you... and then knowing how to assess and edit it as needed. Now more than ever it's about the ideas behind what you create and put out. (Not my area of expertise, but I also hear it's on the verge of completely changing the product photography game which is SUPER EXCITING!)"
- Ami Williamson, Founder of Damn Write

You will soon be doing most of your photoshoots virtually just by telling the AI what you want your product photos to look like.

"I'm sure AI will help the best copywriters in their jobs especially with research which takes even more time than writing. However, I'm also sure this will replace lower level workforce in copywriting. I expect to see the same in design and video editing within a few years as AI gets smarter."
- Daniel Budai, CEO of Budai Media

Don't reshoot for holidays, just ask the AI to give you new themed photos.

"I don't think any of us have looked at AI and thought anything other than, "Oh man, this will really help, particularly with the kind of writing that isn't fundamentally creative." If you're running a store with thousands of SKUs and need straightforward product descriptions, why would you not use a tool like this? Or for boilerplate language where clarity (not ingenuity) is needed. I'm sure there are other ways that AI will be useful, but this has got to be top of mind for everyone right now. And I am sure there are design & image versions of this that will be the same."
- Andrew Faris, Ecommerce Growth Strategist

3. AI-Powered Chatbots

Chatbots have been around for decades, but they have never been very good and you definitely weren't able to make your own.

The sophistication of AI today is changing this. It is only a matter of time before your brand has it's own chatbot, and it is going to be able to talk like a perfect employee. It will be able to be funny, witty, informative, and flexible.

You will be able to give your chatbot access to all of your brand's data and deploy them to your customer base. Your chatbot will be able to help customers find the right product, answer questions, and more.

"Conversational stuff is SUPER exciting, I'm looking forward to the day where a chatbot becomes the first place that online shoppers go to when they visit a site."
- Josh Chin, CEO of Chronos Agency

Instead of making a chatbot, this will likely be your first experience "managing" an AI employee that is beyond human.

4. AI-Powered Data Analysis

As a brand you have a tremendous amount of data you have to go through and analyze.

"I believe AI will have a much bigger impact on larger brands that can afford to spend and use it and also have the massive amounts of data that make it useful."
- Isaiah Bollinger, CEO of Trellis

Sometimes you just don't have enough time to read it. Sometimes it is so much information you and your team would never be capable of reading it.

AI will help you read this data and analyze it on your behalf. You will be able to make businesses decisions, using data you already have, in ways you were never able to before.

5. AI-Powered Product Recommendations

Not everyone knows what product they want to buy when they visit a website.

Maybe they know what problem they need to solve, or who they are shopping for, but they don't know as much about your products or brands as you do.

This is another area where AI can help.

By learning about the customer through quizzes, chatbots, and browsing data, AI can automatically recommend the right products to the right people for the right reasons. 

6. AI-Powered Personalization

"Use of AI to drive personalized experiences for prospects and customers will continue to be a huge opportunity for brands."
- Jacob Sappington, Partner at Homestead

Everyone who visits your website is different. They have different motives, feeling, needs, and concerns.

But right now your website looks the same for everyone. AI can change this.

"I think as brands struggle to get their voice heard above the others in the market place, some will naturally start to lean more on machine learning to build a greater understanding of their customers and prospects. The opportunities could be fantastic, who doesn’t want to deliver a more relevant experience for their customers? However, although it’s not ‘snake oil’, brands should be aware that it’s also not a sliver bullet. In a similar vain to personalisation, you can’t just switch it on and expect miracles to happen over night. It needs a conscious plan, alignment across multiple business departments and potentially more resource or different expertise to be bought in to the business to be able to deliver on it. The ‘machine’ may do the analysis, but brands will need to produce more content variants to be able to deliver the content rich experience that AI will allow them to do"
- Phill Manson, Managing Director of PAASE

You will be able to automatically change your website in real-time depending on who is browsing it. This means the copy, images, reviews, and even colors and layout, can be different to make sure they are optimized for that exact person.

"It's just a matter of time before it takes minutes to input the copy you want in an email and get a perfectly formed email design in your brand font & colors, all built from an AI. With all of this added time on the ideation & drafting stage, there will be more of a focus on speaking directly to your audience & knowing what it is that will keep their attention. "Know your audience" has never been more important than now."
- Sophia Babb, Founder of In Good Light

1-1 experiences for every customer are about to be reality.

"We are already seeing AI take its place at the table in 2022 as consumer expectations for their experiences continue to grow. I see no route other than huge increases in headcount ($$$) or AI in order to help drive the personalized experiences that consumers crave from their favorite new and legacy brands. I firmly believe that while physical retail is nowhere near to being dead, that merchants need to focus on giving consumers a 1:1 experience online to what they would get if they visited a local shop. Their web experience should be tailored to their personal interests, attributes, and past behavior just as a local shop clerk would provide. The quickest route to this without ecommerce teams spending hundreds (or thousands) of hours in analytics and customer data is to deploy AI engines that feed unique and personalized experiences to consumers."
- Jared Shaner, Partner and CRO at Trellis

Conclusion

The world is changing rapidly from AI and the businesses who integrate these powerful tools into their workflows sooner will have a huge advantage.

"People will lean towards AI in making their processes more efficient and may even cut out jobs due to that."
- Connie Cen, Founder of Rocketeer Media

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