Instacart‘s partnership with OpenAI was a significant first step in showing how generative artificial intelligence will fundamentally change the digital shelf and retail media. Amazon.com also has several generative AI-powered initiatives, including AI-generated review highlights and Project Nile, a GenAI search concierge reportedly set to launch in January.
If the feature fulfills its potential, it would significantly transform the way consumers seek out products. It leverages GenAI so users can more precisely inquire about products based on their specific needs, resulting in improved search outcomes.
It's an exciting prospect for marketers because it will turn typical search pages into experiences that are much more personalized.
So, what does this all mean for brands that sell on Amazon or other platforms harnessing the power of GenAI? First and foremost, it means they should become familiar with GenAI sooner rather than later. There are also three key things businesses looking to stay ahead of the competition should consider:
1. Content Remains King
Content is already critical, but these GenAI features are making it the most important factor of success, particularly when selling on Amazon. If a user searches for "sunglasses that don't scratch," Amazon will scour a seller's product detail page (PDP) for those specific words. This makes it increasingly important for brands to update their titles and descriptions so they reflect the latest search behavior and product trends within a given category.
2. Reviews Are Affected as Well
Brands should already be checking to see if Amazon’s AI-generated review highlights have impacted their PDPs. To optimize reviews on the page, they should continuously monitor key ASINs, specifically U.S. listings using mobile devices for visibility. They then need to plan on addressing the "negative" categories highlighted by Amazon, which now stand out more visibly despite what the overall star rating may be. For example, there are clear instances where two products with the same ratings (both 4.5 stars, for example) have differing sub-category reviews — some with entirely positive comments and others with a mix of positive, neutral and negative reviews.
3. Cover the Entire Scope of Search Terms
Shoppers love personalized experiences, and we all shop and search for products in our own unique way. This is only likely to increase as GenAI search functionality aims to make the search experience even more personalized. Accounting for the top 50 search terms is a great start, but it's not enough. Brands need to understand where they rank across hundreds (if not thousands) of search terms to obtain a clearer view of what's working and what's not. This also helps uncover potential gaps in PDP content and reveal potential opportunities for incremental growth.
In the near future, brands will have to consider how they rank against search “themes” vs. just terms. For example, brands not only have to think about how they rank against a term like “healthy dinner,” but also need to consider how they rank against questions like “Can you create a healthy dinner for four people tonight?” which platforms like Instacart allow as search inputs thanks to generative AI.
Ultimately, retailers looking to give themselves the best chance at winning when it comes to generative AI need to adapt to the new reality. Become an early adopter, use AI to your advantage, and build a culture of acceptance (as opposed to fear). Embracing the current reality and preparing for what the future may hold is always important in business, and it’s certainly the case now as GenAI continues to make its mark on the e-commerce landscape.
Guru Hariharan is the CEO and founder of CommerceIQ, an all-in-one platform powering retailers' and brands' e-commerce needs.
Guru is a seasoned technology and business leader with over 15 years of experience in the ecommerce industry. Before founding the company in 2012, Guru spent five-plus years at Amazon building out automated vendor management and supply chain. He also became the AI-based selling coach for 3P sellers. Guru also held the role of General Manager of the Marketplace Experience at eBay, where he led the global launch of eBay’s “Fast N’ Free” shipping and the Global Returns programs. Guru has a Masters with a focus on Machine Learning from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from the Wharton School.