Shopify has just unveiled over 100 new updates to its commerce platform, with artificial intelligence emerging as a key theme. The company introduced new AI-powered capabilities aimed at helping merchants work smarter, sell more, and create better customer experiences.
The headline feature is Shopify Magic, which applies different AI models to assist merchants in a variety of ways. This includes automatically generating product descriptions, FAQ pages and other marketing copy. Early tests showed Magic can create SEO-optimized text in seconds versus the minutes typically required to write high-converting product blurbs.
Shopify also introduced Smart Sidekick, an AI-powered commerce advisor that provides personalized recommendations on everything from managing inventory to acquiring new customers. It aims to distill Shopify’s expertise to guide merchants’ decision making.
On the marketing front, Shopify is infusing its Audiences ad targeting tool with more AI to optimize campaign performance. The company claims its data graph can build custom audiences 2x larger than what merchants could create manually.
Shopify is also leveraging AI to improve search on its platforms. Its new semantic search capability better understands search intent using natural language processing. Early pilots showed a 7 percent increase in search to purchase conversion.
The AI advancements could provide Shopify an edge over rivals like Adobe, Salesforce and Oracle, who are also investing in AI to expand their commerce capabilities.
AI disruption in the retail and e-commerce industry
Shopify’s new features reflect broader trends in retail and e-commerce, where artificial intelligence is transforming everything from supply chains to customer service. According to a report by KPMG, the pandemic disrupted the retail industry by an estimated five years in the past 12 months, and increased the adoption of artificial intelligence in the sector.
The report found that 90 percent of retail business leaders indicated that their employees were prepared and had the skills for artificial intelligence adoption, up from 43 percent in the previous year. However, 49 percent of them also felt that artificial intelligence adoption was moving faster than ideal in their industry, raising concerns about cybersecurity, bias, and ethics.
Shopify said it had addressed these issues by providing an artificial intelligence code of ethics, which 78 percent of its merchants had adopted. It also said it had upgraded its core product infrastructure to support up to 2,000 product variants per listing, enabling more complex product catalogs and reducing the risk of inventory errors.
With more consumers and businesses going digital, Shopify has experienced rapid growth. Its stock has risen over 2,000 percent since its initial public offering in 2015, but has cratered since its pandemic highs. The company now powers more than $200 billion in annual transactions, and has a market capitalization of over $100 billion.
Shopify’s merchants will be hoping that these new features will help them capitalize on the ongoing boom in online commerce, and attract more customers across different channels and markets.
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