Industry News

AI & eCommerce: Introducing Shopify’s Sidekick

Jaryd Sage 08 August 2023

In the midst of the digital era, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has established itself as one of the most transformative technologies that continues to evolve and expand its reach.

eCommerce platform Shopify has been quick to harness the power of this technology with Shopify Magic: “a suite of free AI-enabled features that are integrated across Shopify’s products and workflows to make it easier for you to start, run, and grow your business.”

Shopify has announced what appears to be the centrepiece of Shopify Magic, a conversational AI assistant called Sidekick. Think ChatGPT, but specifically trained on eCommerce and the Shopify platform.

What is Shopify’s Sidekick?

In a video announcing Sidekick, Shopify says its foundational belief is that entrepreneurship is a challenging journey that often requires tackling an overwhelming number of tasks and unknown challenges. Sidekick is designed to support and assist business owners in this journey, acting as a virtual companion that’s always ready, and most importantly able, to help.

According to the official launch page, Shopify Sidekick will be integrated into the sidebar where it will be easily accessible to merchants interacting with their website builder or using other features that may require assistance.

How will Sidekick help merchants?

Intelligent Advice

Sidekick is being marketed as a Shopify expert, deeply competent and available around the clock, offering increased levels of support for Shopify clients. By providing access to your website’s data, Sidekick will be able to provide more detailed and relevant support, specific to the needs of each entrepreneur and business. This tool’s capabilities include explaining sales trends, answering FAQs, and even editing website themes.

In the demo, the user asks why his snowboards sales are down. The AI responds that the decrease in sales may be due to a decline in snow precipitation, and it visually supports its statement by showing a graph.

Increase efficiency

Shopify’s Sidekick is designed to handle repetitive, tedious tasks, research, and more. By taking care of these activities, it allows merchants to finish their to-do lists faster, freeing up valuable time for more strategic business decisions.

In the demo, the user asks Sidekick to put all his snowboards on sale and add the surfboard product catalog to the homepage. The AI automatically marks down all the prices, changing everything needed on the homepage, and adds red discount tags, all within seconds.

Unlock creativity

With Sidekick, entrepreneurs can overcome writer’s block and jump-start the creative process through everyday language. Sidekick is conversational by design and understands the user’s intent, refining their writing for enhanced clarity. This feature allows business owners to focus on innovative ideas while Sidekick takes care of the linguistic fine-tuning.

Sidekick will also allow dynamic design alterations, offering a significant advantage to merchants using the Shopify platform.

In the demo, the user asks Sidekick to change the entire shop design to reflect surfboards instead of snowboards. The AI instantly transforms the design from winter ice to summer fire, including all associated images.

You can see the full announcement of Sidekick, as well as a short demonstration, by Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke here:

If Sidekick functions as demonstrated, it could revolutionise how businesses manage their online shops, potentially alleviating the burden and complexity of online shop management. Miqdad Jaffer, Shopify’s head of AI product, says that Sidekick will continue to evolve, further developing its capabilities in areas crucial for commercial success.

While the product is not yet available, Shopify has confirmed that Sidekick will be free across all plans, and user can sign up for early access here.

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