ChatGPT and Bard Plugins — New revenue stream for eCommerce brands is the next opportunity for marketing measurement
Posted on 2023 Jul,10  | By Sue Azari

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Following the recent announcements from OpenAI and Google around the release of plugins for ChatGPT and Bard, respectively, Sue Azari, Industry Lead E-Commerce at AppsFlyer, explains how these plugins can provide a new revenue stream for retail marketers.

Through 2023, it has been hard, if not impossible, for anyone to ignore the buzz around ChatGPT, and the broader conversation about AI, that it has sparked. It has been an eye-opening few months as this large-language model (LLM) and its rivals — Google’s Bard and Microsoft’s Bing — have battled for headlines with the potential use cases suggested by their human-like understanding.

Earlier this year, ChatGPT’s developer OpenAI announced plugins and Google followed suit very recently announcing its own set of plugins for Bard. These offerings will allow digital experience developers to expose their platforms to users through the ChatGPT and Bard free-language interfaces. And so, along with content writers and a range of other professionals, marketers became concerned about being potentially replaced by AI. That ChatGPT and Bard would discern the habits and preferences of eCommerce customers and cater to them in real-time without the need for human innovation.

As with any AI innovation that has come before, there is a lot of hype followed by a lot of concern about job losses. ChatGPT and Bard, as with all current AI, are “narrow AI”, which means they are good at one thing. This does not imply that they are ready for domain-specific action. Marketers, as with a lot of other professionals who feared replacement by AI, are, in fact, unlikely to be replaced. Instead, they will gain access to a new bank of tools that will allow them to amplify messages and transform strategies.


The potential

ChatGPT’s early third-party plug-in developers are Expedia, FiscalNote, Instacart, KAYAK, Klarna, and Shopify and Bard’s are Kayak, OpenTable, ZipRecruiter, Instacart, Wolfram and Khan Academy. This group is mostly eCommerce companies based in the U.S., but the UAE has made a name for itself as an early adopter of technology. You have probably already found yourself in discussions of how ChatGPT and Bard plugins can be leveraged.

ChatGPT made history as the fastest-growing platform in history. More than 100 million users signed up in its first two months. There is a large base of high-intent consumers just waiting for brands to offer ChatGPT and Bard as engagement channels. This could be the next big leap in the personalisation of the customer experience.

The launch of ChatGPT and Bard’s plugins is cause for celebration among marketers, who currently struggle with ways to personalise experiences as Apple delivers more privacy in iOS and Google plans to follow suit with their Privacy Sandbox. Somewhere around 75% of consumers worldwide describe themselves as channel agnostic. The UAE’s digital-native population reflects this tendency. Users seek delightful digital experiences that are relevant to them, that resonate with their lives; and they want that to be maintained throughout their journey. ChatGPT and Bard plugins offer this. They could end up being the perfect revenue stream, as they tick three of the most important boxes in online retail...


The boxes

First, the personal touch. Retailers have chased this since they had the data to do so. Everyone wants to feel understood by the brands that serve them. They expect an experience tailored to them. As it happens, these are the exact kinds of experiences that bring shoppers back for more, so retailers are only too happy to oblige. If they can figure out how. ChatGPT and Bard plugins are the latest tools to help businesses cover the spectrum of individualisation. Once users feel connected to the brand, they will increase their engagement. And the LLMs behind ChatGPT and Bard are ideally suited to helping customers find what they are looking for and get the best possible outcome from engagement.

The second box is the need for context at every step of the journey. Consumers need to know where they are in their search. Another term for this concept is “contextual experience” and it can make all the difference between convenience and ease of use and a frustrated consumer who exits from the session never to return. If done well, this element will be recommending purchases in a more and more targeted fashion as it learns more about the user. This style of learning sounds like a job for a predictive AI that is obsessed with perfecting the flow of a conversation.

Lastly, retailers must provide users with a seamless, cross-channel journey. Whatever technology facilitates that experience must be capable of remembering what has transpired before, between customer and brand, and be ready to carry on where the last session ended. Even when a customer purchase is achieved, new customer searches must account for previous purchases, especially when such information can be used to resolve a customer query more quickly or to recommend new purchases. This is how we build brand loyalty, and it is well within the scope of a ChatGPT or Bard plugin. Another important box ticked.


Measure twice

All that is left is to ensure that any plugin is plugged into a wider business-wide, silo-free system of measurement. We must know what we are achieving so that we can gain true value from ChatGPT and Bard. There is a significant opportunity for creating new customer experiences, boosting brand loyalty, and increasing revenues, as long as we find a way to measure activity.