Artificial Intelligence in Product Listings: Is It a Good Idea?

Mar 9, 2023



There’s been much buzz about artificial intelligence. In fact, we’ve published blogs about AI before, including the Best AI Tools for Translations and Copywriting. As it goes in the world of technology and machine learning, artificial intelligence develops at a rapid pace. More and more industries use AI in their everyday lives. Over the past few months, many ecommerce sellers have said that they would rather use artificial intelligence for their listing copywriting as opposed to hiring a human listing copywriter. Is this a good idea? Let’s explore.

Anything created by AI would be essentially meaningless, because it can’t express anything human to another human. Which is the point of all human expression, ultimately. If it’s not trying to say anything meaningful, what’s the point of consuming it?

Colin Theriot, The Cult of Copy

Artificial Intelligence Will Always Lack Personality

Ask ChatGPT if artificial intelligence will make copywriters obsolete. Here’s its reply:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is unlikely to replace copywriters, but it may alter their work. Although AI can perform tasks like research, data analysis and generate some content, it still lacks the creativity and critical thinking skills needed for effective copywriting. Copywriting involves understanding and appealing to a target audience’s emotions, desires and motivations, which requires a level of empathy and understanding that AI cannot replicate. Therefore, AI can assist copywriters but not replace them. Human creativity and critical thinking abilities are essential in creating persuasive and compelling content, while AI is just a tool that can help copywriters be more efficient.

Yet, many sellers have taken the easy way out and generated their listings on ChatGPT. Jana says, “I think that writing is very opinionated, so AI that writes in a style will lack personality consistently. I think for factual content and stuff, it will take over, but it won’t replace opinion writers.”

Sure, a listing isn’t an opinion piece. Yet, artificial intelligence is much like a fast food restaurant: Garbage In, Garbage Out. “I think all low quality writers are in danger,” Jana contributes, “everyone that produces generic content.” Your listing should definitely not be generic, or you’ll sacrifice engagement in the name of efficiency.

Zack Franklin of Seller Deals and AMZ Kung Fu agrees. “ChatGPT can provide pretty great output, as long as you provide great input. You need to provide the right keywords and product information to ChatGPT if you want it to write something good enough for your Amazon listing. Soon we’ll see software specifically trained on hundreds of thousands of Amazon product listings that will provide pretty comparable copy to most copywriters. A great copywriter though will still outperform the machine.” Garbage In, Garbage Out.

But will artificial intelligence eventually take over the copywriter’s job? ChatGPT3 doesn’t think so, but perhaps ChatGPT4 will have another “opinion.”

Human to Human Communication: AI Can’t Sit With Us

Colin Theriot speaks again: “Some businesses misidentify a problem they have as I need some words and don’t want to pay someone to write them. But no prospect has the problem, I want to read some words and I don’t care if a human wrote them. The whole point of language is human to human communication. Not just consuming random information for the sake of it.”

Many sellers make the mistake of thinking customers don’t read. Sure, your Amazon title and main image are responsible for click through rates, and many customers base purchase decisions off the image gallery and customer reviews (and an A+ if you have one). Many agencies out there have chosen to keyword stuff the bullets because they assume that the text is there to trigger the algorithm; human conversion is left to pretty pictures and user generated content.

Nembol believes that customers will absolutely read the bullet points – but they’re lazy and generally don’t like reading more than 1000 characters, so each bullet should be around 200 characters long. You have a short space to (1) include relevant keywords, (2) write engaging copy, and (3) localize to your target audience. The best way to get the point across in a way that establishes a relationship with your seller is to write engagingly. Your copywriting is meant to create a connection between you, the human seller, and them, the human customers.

If you use AI as the bridge between the human stakeholders in an eCommerce transaction, make sure it’s fun to read. As fun as a copywriter would make it, with flair, opinions, drama, and style. Otherwise, you’re feeding “random information for the sake of it” down your customers’ throats. Can you hear those negative reviews knocking on the door?

Goodbye Copywriting; Hello Prompt Engineering?

Stephen Walker, business owner and email copywriter, has worked with neural networkers and designers inside the wild world of artificial intelligence. Here’s his experience:

A.I. is great at taking bits of writing and squishing them together to make them somewhat readable but it’s not the same. You can’t train cadence and word flow, you can’t train sarcasm and humor, you can’t train empathy and understanding. Bots can’t think for themselves and they’ll never go through the human experience. They’ve been trying to create bots to write stories for years and it’s just garbage. Maybe in 100 years if they somehow are able to incorporate A.I. into own being, like directly jacked into our brain. Then that might be great, but for now it’s just a dystopian fueled nightmare and wish-festival that everyone is hoping for.
Humor is absolutely crucial in marketing. We even posted about some bestselling Amazon brands that use humor to increase their customer base and solidify their reputation. Brand recall goes through the roof once you use humor. Just look at Dude, WIPE, currently doing around 10 figures on Amazon. They’re wet wipes fashioned for men. Such a simple product idea, but with a genius marketing schtick. Use humor. Don’t use AI.
What about empathy? It’s absolutely critical that you use empathy when talking to your customer. This is a key factor in localization; through understanding the customer’s wants and needs, we’re able to translate a listing into vocabulary and expression that appeals to the psychology of your target market. Imagine if we used Google Translate to turn a listing from an American market, with its verbosity and poetic expression, to a German market, which favors a more stoic, fact-based approach. Where would the human insight be?
As we’ve already established, it’s important for humans to speak to humans. Also, what you put into AI is what you’ll get out of it. So, is it possible that copywriting may actually morph into something else – like prompt engineering? You have Javascript and C++ engineers. Prompt engineers are similar, except instead of keying in code, they key in prose to get an answer out of the AI.
Zack is pretty good at using AI. Not a day goes by when he doesn’t use some AI program or the other to benefit his business. He’s a very effective prompt engineer. That’s how he’s able to churn out a high volume of copywriting in a very short amount of time. But even he agrees that artificial intelligence will never surpass the talent of a good copywriter.
Yet, with the advancements being made in the realm of AI, we might just see a world where AI will indeed overcome its failings, and develop a program to simulate human empathy, sarcasm, humor, and emotion. Copywriters and content creators will then have to change around their skill set – you won’t be speaking to the human anymore; you’ll be speaking to the bot that delivers to speech that humans will eventually consume.

Scary but Unbelievable at the Same Time

Jana is cautiously excited about the future. She approaches it with a sense of humor. Like any business owner, she too uses AI. “AI is the future. Whoever doesn’t adapt and thrive from AI is going to be left behind and broke!”

She’s not exactly gung-ho about AI, but neither is she ignoring it. Perhaps that’s exactly the right approach. AI is in flux; it develops, bit by bit, everyday, with more funding pouring into the discipline. Who knows where AI will be, next month, 5 years in the future, 20 years in the future?

Garbage In, Garbage Out. That’s a solid rule for yourself, not just for AI. If a machine can constantly learn and grow to improve itself, then so too can you. Keep on upskilling and learning, then there’s no way the machines can ever overtake your humor, empathy, genius, and humanness.