Presto Chango! Abracadabra!
The “Magic” is Here: ChatGPT & Shopify Magic

We’re not here to pull a rabbit out of our hat (you’d be surprised how many top hats we do keep here at Text Connects). Instead we want to talk about AI, Artificial Intelligence, and some related hot topics, ChatGPT and Shopify Magic.

If you are looking for more insights into these two products (services?) you’ve landed on the right page.

Let’s start at the beginning.

To set the stage, we all have been utilizing AI for many years. Alexa, Siri, and a number of customer service “bots” (and phone systems) you have no doubt encountered, all exploit AI. Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock or were a stowaway on Terran 1, the first 3D-printed rocket, you can’t have missed the news that AI is shaking the foundation of what is possible when it comes to harnessing computer power for work (and play).

The biggest news splash of late is ChatGPT. Launched a long, long time ago in November 2022 (?!), the Microsoft-backed OpenAI company has created a “generative AI” version based on what is referred to as a “large language model.”

ChatGPT is not the same as a search engine. It has been created to process natural language and allows you to have human-like conversations with a chatbot. The “generative” part is that this type of AI, depending on how it is deployed in the world, can create new content in the form of images, videos, audio, text and 3D models.

Code your own website with AI?

In our “use case,” it can respond in writing to questions or “prompts” and even write computer code in about 12 programming languages (Python, JavaScript, etc.) and supports nearly 100 natural languages (Arabic to Wu). If you ask nicely, it will code a website for you.

The easily accessible version of ChatGPT is ChatGPT-3. You can sign up for it free right here. Register with your email address or Google or Microsoft account and you’ll be prompted to Log in or Sign up. Sign up and you’ll be able to access ChatGPT version 3 or 3.5. At no charge. Don’t be surprised if you need to be waitlisted to get access or if you have registered for an account, that you might have to wait to get in sometimes. There’s a lot of “chatting” going on.

A newer model, GPT-4, is already available, but you’ll have to pay a monthly fee for access, currently $20/month. GPT-4 is considered "multimodal" because it can perceive not only text but images as well. It can process eight times more words than its predecessor. Please note, this new iteration is coming out less than five months after the first publicly available version!

It’s very likely this new version will be more readily available in the very near future. Meanwhile, if you are impatient–or cheap–we have good news for you. The Bing search engine now utilizes ChatGPT-4. [Wait, didn’t we just say that it is NOT the same as a search engine? Oh, well, this is all rapidly evolving.]

The GOOG is not far behind.

And don’t forget Bard, Google’s own version of AI. As of this writing you have to join a waitlist to get access to Bard. Bard is not based on ChatGPT but on its own Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA). No wonder they want you to call it “Bard.” The smart folks at Google say that Bard is particularly suited for “NORA” queries–questions that have “no one right answer.” [Editor's note, why didn’t they call it NORA?]

If this isn’t enough info for you, this article from The Verge is a great comparo of all three.

Let’s get practical.

Before we move on to the magic of Shopify Magic, let us illustrate a practical use for AI and ChatGPT: product descriptions. And we’ll do the same for Shopify e-commerce merchants in a moment.

Let’s just say, a new shipping container has arrived with a whole lot of new merchandise that you want online ASAP. When there are only a few new items, it might even be fun to flex your copywriting muscle, but when it is a container full, that can be a daunting project.

In steps ChatGPT. Have a new yellow sweater you hope will fly off the shelves? As a test we just entered the “prompt” . . . “write a 20 word description of a fuzzy yellow sweater to go on an ecommerce site.” Look at the results in the screenshot below. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to buy for someone!

example chatgpt prompt about a yellow sweater

Sim Sala Bim: Shopify Magic

As you have probably noted, AI can be created in many flavors. Not to be outdone, Shopify is harnessing the power of AI precisely for product descriptions, with some clever features perfect for e-commerce.

When they rolled out their Shopify Editions Winter ‘23 release in early February 2023, baked into it (along with more than 100 other changes) was Shopify Magic. If not already rolled out in your store, there’s a wait list to put your name on here.

No doubt inspired by what OpenAI has accomplished, Shopify jumped quickly (okay, maybe they’ve been working on it in a darkly lit basement for years) into AI.

Shopify Magic is another “generative AI” platform based on a large language model, but sharply focused (for now) on product descriptions.

With very little input from your product team or merchandiser, it will generate pretty darn slick product descriptions for your online store that are well-honed and keyword-rich (don’t forget ranking and SEO). Of course, those descriptions could also end up in catalogs you distribute, brick ‘n mortar signage or in emails and ads.

See the screenshot below to see what it did with a similar prompt we used on ChatGPT’s sweater description, but here using Shopify Magic.

Shopify Magic Prompt

To us, what’s really cool is that Shopify Magic gives you a choice of six different tones in the writing style. Playful, Sophisticated, Daring, Persuasive, Supportive, and Expert. Hey, we’d like to be able to dial those choices into some people we know! Some day.

You may well be able to accomplish something similar with ChatGPT alone, but Shopify Magic makes it very easy.

Shopify magic results

Will AI take over the world?

Sure, there are some worries about AI. ChatGPT just passed the Turing Test which examines the ability of an AI model to convincingly mimic human-like conversation. It’s only the second AI chatbot to pass this nearly 70-year old test that was designed to determine whether or not a computer counts as “intelligent.” The other chatbot that passed? Google’s LaMDA was the first.

In this day when dystopian themes seem to be in every other movie, YouTube video, and blog, it is easy to fret about the future.

Whenever we grow concerned about AI taking over the world–or my job–we try to remember the image circulating in social feeds with the prompt of “show me salmon in a river” and the following result.

show me salmon in a river

GPT stands for generative pre-trained transformer. Somehow, we feel safer knowing that “generative pre-trained transformer” is not exactly a slogan to lead a bot revolution.

[Please note: no part of this post was written using AI tools. But who knows about next time . . .]