Practical, useful methods for using ChatGPT to help run your ecommerce store.
It’s been over a year since ChatGPT first appeared - bringing with it a huge new era of AI for ecommerce.
Our team has spent hours during this last year testing and tinkering with its capabilities, finding the best ways this much-hyped tool can be used to serve Shopify stores.
The result is below - a list of five specific tried and tested ways you can start using ChatGPT to simplify (and maybe even improve) the running of your Shopify website.
- Content repurposing - to help supply your blog with fresh content
- Editing the format and language in product descriptions - improving them for customers
- Writing alt-text in batches - saving you time (potentially)
- Adding CSS to your blogs - increasing reader engagement
- Analysing customer feedback and reviews - to distil insights quickly/quicker
Note: Bookmark this post. We expect this list to grow the more we pick out useful ways to use ChatGPT for your business.
Content Repurposing: Use ChatGPT to Help Supply Your Ecommerce Blog With Fresh Content
All corners of your Shopify store matter, including your blog.
A well maintained blog with brilliant content can be a big driver of targeted traffic to your online store. It’s also a great resource for building your brand, telling your story, and a clear sign to customers that your site is actively updated and evolving.
However, creating high-quality, fresh blog content consistently can be a daunting task, especially when time and resources are limited.
This is where ChatGPT comes into play. Over the last year we’ve found that it can really help with recycling digital assets - transforming the content you already possess and finding new ways to repurpose and maximise its reach and value. Below are a couple of specific scenarios.
A screenshot from a Nudie Jeans Co Youtube video: this kind of video could be repurposed into an excellent, informative blog.
From Videos to Blogs:
Transforming video content into engaging blog posts does a couple of things:
- It creates a whole new way for your audience to engage with your content.
- It also gives your video content a text-based format for SEO (helping you get more traffic to your website via Google).
Here's a step-by-step approach on how we’d go about turning videos into blogs:
- Select your video content: Dig through your video archives. Think about what content would work as a blog. Recipe videos, how-to guides, or behind-the-scenes footage are examples of excellent candidates for repurposing.
- Extract the video transcripts: Get the transcripts of selected videos. These can often be exported directly from video platforms like Youtube.
- Use ChatGPT to turn the video transcripts to well-structured blog posts: Use ChatGPT to rework these transcripts into well-structured blog posts. It will help maintain the essence and style of the video while adapting the content for your reading audience.
- Optimise for SEO: This step is like sprinkling fairy dust on your newly created blog post; If this is a blog that you think can attract organic traffic from the likes of Google, apply SEO best practices. Ensure the blog content aligns with relevant keywords and search intents to boost organic traffic. You can even embed the original video into the blog.
- Publish and monitor: Once published, it’s good to track the performance of these blog posts. Keep an eye on the traffic and engagement in GA4 to gauge their impact.
Newsletter Content to Blog Posts:
Here’s how we’d do it:
- Select your evergreen content: Are there brilliant pieces of newsletter content lying and dying in your sent folder that could be revived and given a whole new life and purpose on your blog? Start with identifying some evergreen pieces from your newsletters (content that remains relevant over time). These might be insights you’ve shared with your subscribers over time. Like how you make your product, gift guides, information on sustainability practices, recipes, instructionals, how you recommend using or styling a certain product.
- Adapt for the blog: Work with ChatGPT to adjust the tone and structure to fit a blog format. This might involve expanding on certain points or adding additional context.
- SEO and publish: Optimise these blog posts for SEO and publish them.
Those are just a couple of use cases of a ChatGPT approach to your ecommerce content strategy. Our team has a lot more ideas like this so feel free to get in touch if you are looking for ways on how to streamline and effectively optimise all corners of your Shopify store.
Use ChatGPT to Improve Product Descriptions for Your Shopify Customers
Product descriptions are incredibly important for your business.
They meet customers at the point when they are actively and intentionally finding out more about your product, seeking the information that can push them from consideration phase (“should I get it?”) to the conversion phase (“I am getting it”).
A great product description to us comes down to two things: language and format.
It's not just about the amount of information provided, but how it's presented to ensure it's actually read and understood by your customers.
ChatGPT can help:
- Use it to optimise the format of your product description: A common challenge, or overlooked opportunity, is transforming dense blocks of text into more digestible formats. ChatGPT can assist in reformatting your text heavy descriptions into bullet points or lists which are way more reader-friendly. This will not only improve readability but also make key features and benefits stand out more effectively.
- Use it to clarify language into better descriptions for your potential customers: You know your brand voice best. Don’t let ChatGPT fully write your product descriptions, but it can help refine them. If your current product descriptions read a bit waffley or sound off-brand, use ChatGPT as an editing tool. It can tighten the language, ensuring the key selling points are prominent and the tone aligns with your brand's voice.
- Use it to brainstorm customer-centric benefits: ChatGPT is excellent for brainstorming sessions. Feed it the basic details of your product, and it can suggest benefits that would appeal directly to your customers' daily lives.This approach ensures that your product descriptions resonate more deeply with your audience, addressing their needs and lifestyle.
Use ChatGPT to Write Batches of Alt-Text for Your Ecommerce Products
Earlier in the year, alt-text wouldn’t be on our list of useful things ChatGPT can help with.
We tested ChatGPTs capacity to write alt-text sometime in May and to put it mildly - it wasn’t quite there yet. However, testament to the fact that ChatGPT has come on leaps and bounds, the once questionable image input function now works.
Here’s an example.
Alt-text is important for a couple of reasons:
- It makes your website more accessible to visually impaired users
- It also serves as an SEO element - helping search engines understand and index your images properly.
Is this useful? Are you saving time? Depends.
Writing effective alt-text was a task that required a significant amount of time and attention to detail.
The usefulness of ChatGPT for writing alt-text comes down to a cost-benefit analysis. Consider the time it takes for you or your team to write alt-text manually versus the efficiency gained with ChatGPT. For businesses that haven't focused on alt-text previously, integrating ChatGPT can be a big help.
It also becomes really interesting when you think about the possibility of integrating this function directly into your website's code which further streamline the process, making alt-text generation an automatic part of uploading new images…
Note: inputing images on ChatGPT is only available if you pay for ChatGPT Plus ($24 per month and in our objective eyes, worth it).
Use ChatGPT to Add CSS to Your Blogs to Increase Reader Engagement
CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is the coding language used to add style to your web content. Adding it to your Shopify blog can do wonders for your reader's experience.
For example, visually styled sections with elements such as blockquotes, sidebars, or pull quotes, table of contents are great for breaking up walls of text. These kinds of CSS additions can not only make the blog more aesthetically pleasing, but improve the user experience by helping with readability. This, in turn, can lead to increased reader engagement and time spent on the page - important metrics for any website.
Before and after: Example of the visual impact that CSS styling can have on web content. ChatGPT is able to generate the CSS needed to help you move beyond the native simplicity of Shopify's default blog layout.
CSS Elements you can add to your blog using ChatGPT:
- Table of Contents: great for longer posts, allows users to navigate to key sections.
- Styled Headers: differentiate section headings with unique fonts or colours.
- Text Breaks: use horizontal lines, spacing, or images to give readers a visual break.
- Custom Lists: style your bullet points or numbered lists with custom icons or indents.
- Interactive Elements: incorporate hover effects on links or buttons for a responsive feel.
Note on approaching CSS with caution
While CSS opens up a mountain of possibilities for design, it's important to approach any CSS implementation with caution. Our dev tips are as follows:
- Each styled element should serve a clear purpose, contributing to the content's message rather than distracting from it.
- Overuse of CSS can impact your site's load time. Make sure that the styling is optimised for performance.
- Don’t go crazy with the colours. Maintain accessibility standards. Text should be easily readable, and colour contrasts should meet WCAG guidelines.
- Unless you're pretty confident or proficient in experimenting with web development, we recommend enlisting a professional developer to integrate CSS into your blog. This ensures the styles are applied correctly and responsively, providing a consistent experience across all devices and browsers.
Using ChatGPT to Analyse Customer Feedback and Reviews
Customer feedback and product reviews are goldmines of information for ecommerce businesses.
They can reveal what your customers truly think about your products and services, but sifting through this feedback to extract actionable insights can be a mammoth task pushed aside month after month due to it being so time intensive. This is how ChatGPT can help speed things up:
Steps for streamlining feedback analysis using ChatGPT
- Gather together your customer feedback: Compile all your customer feedback and reviews from various sources – your Shopify store, social media, emails, and third-party review sites.
- Categorise that feedback: Organise this feedback into categories such as product quality, customer service, delivery, usability, etc. This step helps in addressing specific aspects of your business.
- Summarise and analyse using ChatGPT: Input these categorised feedback sets into ChatGPT. It can summarise large volumes of text, highlighting common themes, sentiments, and specific customer suggestions.
- Identify action points: From ChatGPT's analysis, identify key areas for improvement or areas where your store is excelling. Look for recurring themes or suggestions that can lead to meaningful changes in your products or services.
- Develop response strategies: Use ChatGPT to help craft responses to common concerns raised in reviews. This not only improves customer relations but also shows prospective customers that you value and act on feedback.
- Inform product development: Use insights from product reviews to guide future product development, FAQ pages, marketing ideas etc.ChatGPT can help identify the most appreciated features or common issues that need addressing.
- Monitor trends over time: Regularly analyse new feedback with ChatGPT to keep a pulse on changing customer preferences and market trends.
Useful Or Not? Practical Considerations When Deciding If Your Ecommerce Business Can Benefit From Using ChatGPT
The capabilities of ChatGPT have increased enormously within the last year.
From the original launch of the ChatGPT 3 model to the more sophisticated, subscription based ChatGPT 4, the changes have come thick and fast and it’s been interesting watching in what feels like real-time - the tool transforming before our eyes.
In short, ChatGPT is getting better and better and will only continue to improve. But better is different to useful.
It doesn’t matter how impressive or clever ChatGPT is. It’s very easy to spend an entire working week playing around with AI tools like this, which leads to the crucial question: How can ChatGPT actually help? How can it ease your workload and improve your operational processes?
The decision to incorporate ChatGPT into your Shopify store's operations should be guided by two core questions:
- 'Can this AI tool make an existing process faster or more efficient?'
- 'Can it improve the customer experience in a way that I alone (or my team) cannot?'
If the answer to either of these is yes, then ChatGPT is probably genuinely useful for your business. The value of ChatGPT will also depend on the strengths and capabilities of your e-commerce team.
The Ways We Would Not Recommend Using ChatGPT For Shopify Stores
With ChatGPT comes the freedom to do what feels like absolutely anything. And that's exactly where we can go wrong. We'd say don't use ChatGPT to:
- Pump out loads of content, just because you can. It will likely just be for optics - 20 blog posts per month for the sake of is probably not valuable.
- Add a chatbot to your e-commerce store because it seems like a cool thing to do (loading speeds vs. is a GPT chatbot actually useful for your customers?).
- Add loads of CSS code to your HTML code for blogs (against best practice of keeping CSS and HTML in separate files and can slow your site down).
- Create images for your site (we recommend keeping your images honest, real and useful, not just decorative).
- Use it for language translation (e.g. don't use it to translate your Shopify site into French, Spanish, Thai etc for different international markets).
Do We Think ChatGPT Plus Is Worth It For Shopify Stores?
If you’ve ever played around with ChatGPT you’ll probably have noticed that there are two versions: ChatGPT (free) and ChatGPT Plus (not free).
We highly recommend the paid version. That's our honest opinion. At $24, including VAT, it's not too much to spend for a version of the AI that is noticeably better.
Who Should Be Using ChatGPT Within Your Ecommerce Team?
To really get the most out of ChatGPT and in order for it to be truly useful, you ideally need to have one or more people in the team that really know how to use it.
That means someone who is happy to experiment and play around with what kind of prompts and inputs will get the best response for your brand.
As a large language model, ChatGPT works by learning from previous responses. To save you time from rephrasing prompts (or admonishing it for producing not-quite-right responses), we recommend building out from one chat thread so the AI gets accumulated knowledge of your brand, business, style, TOV etc.
But this blog post comes with a big disclaimer which is essentially - don’t let ChatGPT do everything for you without someone in your team deftly manning the helm.
As powerful as it is, ChatGPT is not a silver bullet - but in the right situations and in the right ways - it can step up to help with certain tasks for your store.
What About Data Handling and Confidentiality?
Here is the key point we think Shopify store owners should know about:
Sensitive information: It's advised not to share sensitive personal information or confidential business data with ChatGPT. This includes customer details, proprietary business information, or any other type of sensitive data.
Our Closing Thoughts
Don’t use AI just because you can (or just because everyone else seems to be). Use it to make you better at what you do, or recruit it’s powers during those times you’re short on resources or feeling a bit dry on creative energy.
You never want your brand to sound like a bot. Or be run by a bot. However, you probably do want your business to take advantage of the useful ways a bot can help your online store grow.