UPDATED 11:00 EST / JULY 26 2023


Shopify introduces generative AI chatbot for its e-commerce platform

Shopify Inc. today debuted Sidekick, an artificial intelligence chatbot that can help retailers redesign their e-commerce websites and analyze sales data. 

Sidekick is rolling out alongside several other new features. Shopify’s cloud platform, which enables retailers to build and host e-commerce websites, will now offer corporate credit cards. Furthermore, the company is extending the platform with a new AI-powered email marketing tool.

Sidekick will become available through its Shopify Magic suite of machine learning features. The feature suite runs on OpenAI LP’s GPT-4 model. When it launched earlier this year, Shopify Magic focused mainly on automating the task of writing e-commerce product listings. It will extend Shopify’s automation capabilities to a variety of other areas as well.

According to the company, the first task that the chatbot will help retailers speed up is website design. Using natural language commands, workers can instruct Sidekick to change the layout of a product listing or add a new section to their company’s online store. Moreover, the chatbot is capable of generating marketing copy for the website sections it creates.

Shopify says that Sidekick doubles as an analytics tool. It enables users to ask questions about an online store’s operations and receive answers in a natural language format. A worker could, for example, inquire about the cause of a sudden jump in purchases or request a summary of last week’s sales.

It also lends itself to certain other use cases. According to Shopify, the chatbot can automate day-to-day store management chores such as discounting products. The company says retailers also can use Sidekick to answer common customer service questions.

Sidekick is rolling out to Shopify’s ecommerce platform alongside a number of other features. One new capability, Shopify Credit, will enable retailers to issue corporate credit cards to their staff. In conjunction, the company is rolling out an AI tool that can automatically generate marketing emails and identify the best times to send them.

Rounding out today’s update is a pair of features focused on helping merchants manage their product catalogs. The first capability, Shopify Connect, allows an online retailer to make merchandise from other Shopify stores available through its website. Additionally, retailers are gaining integrations that will make it easier to list their products on major e-commerce marketplaces. 

Sidekick and the other enhancements announced today are rolling out a few days after Wix.com Ltd., one of Shopify’s top rivals, introduced an AI assistant of its own. The latter tool allows users to generate website designs with natural language prompts. It incorporates technology from OpenAI along with a number of AI models that Wix developed internally.

Image: Shopify

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