Shopify broadens its AI feature suite to engage more businesses

Shopify broadens its AI feature suite to engage more businesses

Shopify broadens its AI feature suite to engage more businesses As a tech journalist, Zul focuses on topics including cloud computing, cybersecurity, and disruptive technology in the enterprise industry. He has expertise in moderating webinars and presenting content on video, in addition to having a background in networking technology.

Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify has made its AI-backed tools more widely available in a push to expand the types of services it offers.

The company unveiled this expansion at its biannual product event on Monday, making Sidekick more accessible and enhancing its suite of features with an improved image generation tool to increase its appeal and drive revenue.

One exciting piece of news is that this editing tool will now also work on mobile devices and has been extended to even more Shopify users. With this feature, customers can enhance images included in marketing materials such as emails directly from their phones, whereas previously it was only functional for online product image editing.

The company has also expanded access to Sidekick, its AI-powered chatbot designed to assist merchants with various queries, including providing insights on customer behaviour. Sidekick, which has been in testing with over 2,000 users since last year, is now live across thousands of Shopify stores. However, it is currently limited to merchants with English-language stores in North America. Vanessa Lee, Shopify’s vice president of product, stated in an interview with The Verge that the company intends to make Sidekick available in other languages and locations in the future.

In addition to these features, Shopify introduced several other AI-focused tools. Notably, the AI-powered product categorisation feature aims to streamline the product listing process. This tool automatically suggests the appropriate taxonomy for products, making listings more easily discoverable without requiring manual input from merchants.

Another innovative feature is the AI-suggested replies for customer chats through Shopify Inbox. Currently, these replies are presented as suggestions, with merchants retaining control over the final response. Shopify has chosen to keep human oversight in this process until they are fully confident in the AI’s reliability.

Harley Finkelstein, Shopify’s President, emphasised that these updates are part of a larger initiative. The company has released over 150 updates designed to create a more integrated platform, enabling merchants to scale their businesses seamlessly.

These developments come at a crucial time for Shopify. The company recently forecasted its slowest quarterly revenue growth in two years, leading to a significant drop in its stock price and market value. This slowdown follows a period of rapid growth during the pandemic when stay-at-home orders drove consumers online. However, recent economic uncertainties and high inflation have impacted Shopify’s primary user base of small- and medium-sized businesses.

Despite these challenges, some analysts remain optimistic about Shopify’s prospects. J.P. Morgan analysts noted that Shopify’s substantial R&D investment has resulted in an unrivaled array of features and capabilities, keeping the company at the forefront of e-commerce technology. They also pointed out that Shopify has only penetrated 11% of its total serviceable market, valued at $60 billion.

Target joins in

In a parallel development, Target announced a partnership with Shopify, allowing Shopify merchants to apply for inclusion in Target Plus, the retailer’s third-party marketplace. This collaboration aims to bring new and trendier brands to Target’s website. Cara Sylvester, Target’s chief guest experience officer, told CNBC that this partnership would help the retailer discover popular items quickly and make them available to online shoppers, with the potential to bring some items to physical store shelves.

Target views this marketplace expansion as a “halo” and “an accelerant to the total business.” The company anticipates that broadening its online assortment with eye-catching merchandise will increase website traffic and drive sales across both marketplace sellers and Target’s own brands.

This strategic move comes as Target seeks to reinvigorate sales growth amid changing consumer spending patterns, particularly in discretionary merchandise categories. The retailer has been facing challenges in keeping pace with grocery-focused competitors like Walmart.

These developments in the e-commerce sector highlight the ongoing evolution of online retail platforms and the increasing importance of AI and strategic partnerships in driving growth and maintaining competitiveness in a rapidly changing market landscape.

See also: Cognizant teams with Shopify and Google Cloud to transform enterprise retail

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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