How To Write Great (Not OK) Product Copy
Work smarter, not harder, with this free template and toolkit to help you engage shoppers and boost product discovery.
How Can an AI Writing Assistant Be Helpful in Ecommerce?
If you’re reluctant to give AI writing assistants a chance, there are some benefits, particularly for developing ecommerce content.
Enhance Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Thanks to their ability to swiftly analyze data at a tremendous scale, AI writing assistants can create highly optimized content that’s not only relevant for their shoppers but search engine web crawlers as well.
Whether allowing the platform to develop copy from scratch, or simply deploying it to enhance human-created content, the insights derived from machine learning can go a long way in making sure your products stand out in search results.
Develop Relevant Product Descriptions
Content like product descriptions are ideal for AI writing assistants: Here, customers will forgive less creativity but still expect precise information.
It’s why many brands have used AI to automate the development of their product descriptions. AI not only frees up your writers to focus on more creative assets in your pipeline, but its processing power can also identify vast patterns in customer behavior that might be otherwise missed by human analysts — and optimizes your product descriptions accordingly.
Of course, any AI-generated copy will likely require the review of a human marketer before publishing — though, with its help, most of the work will be done before you even start.
Automating Content at Scale
Beyond product descriptions, your writing team may be faced with other tedious tasks, such as updating existing content to meet new style requirements, or personalizing/localizing dozens of iterations of the same copy.
If you need to produce a great amount of content — and are a little flexible on the need for a creative spark — an AI writing assistant can automate a great deal of what would normally be a headache of a project.
Ensuring a Consistent Voice
It’s a lot easier to maintain a consistent voice when you have a single writer. AI writing assistants providing even foundational first drafts will help you maintain your brand’s tone from piece to piece.
The Drawbacks of Using AI Writing Assistants in Ecommerce
While there are benefits to bringing AI writers to your team, there are some drawbacks to consider.
Machines Have a Weird Way of Thinking
It may feel a little unfair to critique AI writing assistants as potentially prone to error — after all, human writers make mistakes all the time.
However, it’s important to remember these systems, while undoubtedly complex and powerful, are still merely machines requiring careful human oversight.
Consider this passage from the introduction to a companion blog piece, “This Blog Post Was Written by an AI Bot — Could Your Product Descriptions Be Next?,” written in its entirety by an AI writing assistant:
“Artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly but surely changing the way we write product descriptions. In the past, most product descriptions were written by humans.”
Though technically true, many human writers would remove “most” from that phrase. Even better writers would simply drop the sentence entirely, as it’s a claim so obvious it becomes nearly redundant to mention. (What other creatures are out there writing product descriptions?)
Employing an AI writing assistant will often involve a balancing act of utilizing its analytical power while “humanizing” its final product. That might not work for every project.
Content Tends To Be Boring
If you’re looking to develop a wildly creative blog entry, deeply emotionally resonant content asset, or even a “hot take,” taking the advice of an AI writing assistant might not be your best approach.
Human writers may be admittedly biased when it comes to this question, but AI writing assistants tend to be better at creating straightforward, fact-based copy, rather than something conceptual or creative. Think Joe Friday on Dragnet: “Just the facts.” That’s your AI writing assistant’s comfort zone.
And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, if your brand leans heavily on creative marketing to stand out from the competition, you might be let down by some of the limitations of present AI technology to develop truly creative, memorable, or unusual copy.
A Lot More To Edit
Though an AI writing assistant can produce a first draft at nearly lightning speed compared to a mere human writer, be prepared for a more tedious editing process. These platforms are outfitted with some very powerful language processing tools but aren’t ideal.
In an example AI-generated blog post, the passage created to describe how the system can help “improve the quality of your writing” actually contains some pretty clunky phrasing itself.
“There are many benefits to using AI to write product descriptions. One of the main benefits is that AI can help to improve the quality of your writing. AI tools can help you to avoid common writing mistakes, such as typos, and can also help you to improve the flow and readability of your writing.”
(A more concise human writer might edit this to say, “AI tools can help you avoid common writing mistakes while improving the flow and readability of your writing.”)
Even with less-than-perfect prose, AI writing assistants might save you valuable time for other projects — but remember, you’re editing something an algorithm spat out, not an experienced human copywriter.
Should My Brand Use An AI Writing Assistant?
It’s clear that AI writing assistants have their pros and cons. However you feel about them — and whether or not your company ultimately decides to use them — there is some value in introducing your team to these platforms and new technologies.
Developing a concrete understanding of the ways brands are using AI, how it works, as well as its strengths and limitations, will only empower your team and hopefully serve as a springboard to adopt newer, related technologies as they become available.
There’s always some benefit in maintaining familiarity with emerging trends and technology and experimenting with them — even if obvious solutions don’t always immediately present themselves.
Are These the Droids You’re Looking For?
While AI technology has undergone some tremendous strides over the past decade, so far, it doesn’t seem like robots are coming to replace writers in the near future.
However, understanding the various functions and applications of AI writing assistants can put your team at a tremendous competitive advantage, especially as these platforms become increasingly powerful and popular in ecommerce spaces.