Shopify Reveals Generative AI ‘Sidekick’ for Shopping
Shopify is rolling out a conversational generative AI chatbot named Sidekick to assist online store owners. CEO Tobias Lütke suggested in his announcement video that Sidekick will act as an analyst and manager tracking sales and other metrics.
Sidekick mirrors the ‘co-pilot’ style promoted by OpenAI and Microsoft. The chatbot (whose icon looks like someone wearing Robin’s mask from Batman comics) works as a proactive but not independent helper for business owners that can streamline a lot of normally time-consuming and tedious paperwork and minutia. The AI parses not only data provided by the business but can pull in any information that might be relevant from the internet. Lütke’s demonstration above has him ask about a decline in snowboard sales, and Sidekick cites the decreasing snowfall recently as a potential factor. When asked to put snowboards on sale, Sidekick lowers the prices and marks them accordingly on the website. Lütke’s request to revamp the whole website to reflect a new focus on surfboards and the website theme moves from the mountains to the beach.
“Every entrepreneur has tons of questions. Sidekick will have answers that are specific to your business,” Lütke said. “It will not question your vision. But if there is a big change you want to make, it’ll definitely be able to help you with that, too.”
This isn’t Shopify’s first generative AI project. The company was among the first cohort of brands signed up for ChatGPT plug-ins. Shopify hasn’t announced a release date for Sidekick, but the teaser announcement suggests the company recognizes how competitive the generative AI commerce and enterprise space is becoming. Wix just revealed its plans for an AI Site Generator that will leverage generative AI to produce an entire website from a written prompt. On the consumer side, Microsoft has made ChatGPT an integral part of online shopping, and Instacart has embedded ChatGPT into its search feature.
“I can’t actually think of any corner of the internet that will benefit more from the AI than the pursuit of people building their own businesses,” Lütke said. “I’ve been part of the technology industry since the mid-90s, and I have never seen anything like AI. This will be an unbelievable boon to entrepreneurship.”