AI and the future of ecommerce copywriting
Talkoot Chief Growth Officer
Today we are excited to share a sit-down conversation between Brian Hennessy, Talkoot’s Co-Founder & CEO and Joshua Wong Co-Founder & CEO at Hypotenuse AI. The two discuss their business relationship and the future of ecommerce with AI copywriting.
Q: What is the problem with writing product descriptions for ecommerce?
Brian: At a very high level: there is a lack of time, tools, process and expertise to create interesting, useful product descriptions across an entire product line. The product data needed to create quality product copy is tucked into many, many spreadsheets across an organization. Expertise on different aspects of the product is siloed in different departments. Products change and improve in small and big ways every season. On top of all that, most companies don’t understand what their consumers need to know in order to confidently add products to their cart.
Joshua: The first problem that jumps to mind is the cost of creating and maintaining product copy. A good product description requires careful and creative thought, even to write a decent first draft. It requires consideration for the technicalities of the product, the audience that is being targeted, and even how search engines would view it.
While writing a single description can already be mind-numbing, this has to be repeated many times over for an entire catalogue of products (which often ranges from hundreds to even millions of products). The resources required to maintain high quality content with a consistent brand voice across each description causes bottlenecks for many e-commerce companies, slowing down product listings and hurting their revenue.
Q: Joshua, why is Hypotenuse AI partnering with Talkoot?
A: At Hypotenuse AI, we’re focused on creating the best experiences for e-commerce brands. We knew that building a seamless flow would need us to either build or integrate with the wider e-commerce ecosystem, including PIMs and content management systems.
When we first spoke to Talkoot, they stood out because of how much they centered around product stories. They aren’t just another PIM, but one that focuses on building a connection with customers on PDP pages. This focus wasn’t only in words, but trickled down to the way they handled product information, designed workflows and made product decisions. To us, there’s a clear overlap with our mission to make better product experiences.
As we’ve learned more about Talkoot, we also discovered how neatly our products fit together. We’re able to integrate the AI copy generation process naturally into Talkoot’s workflow and management system, which creates a clean, efficient way to create content for your product pages.
Both Hypotenuse and Talkoot are highly invested in taking the hassle out of managing products. We both want to make it easier for teams to focus on what they do best: your brand’s story. We’ve had a great time getting to know Talkoot’s team over the past year, who not only are veterans of the PIM industry but also funny and generous to boot.
Q: Joshua, why is a Hypotenuse AI description better than another AI-generator?
A: The first is on product specificity and brand voice. As compared to other AI generators that are designed to just spit words out on a page, Hypotenuse AI generates content that is trained and tailored to your brand’s writing. Not only does this create a better customer experience and consistency, but it also focuses on writing about specific information about your products, or even targeted SEO keywords.
The second is its ease of use and time savings. Most other AI-generators require you to rewrite your information in a specific format, or write elaborate details about your product, all of which take up hours and hours of typing before you’ve got a poorly written description. And that’s hours you could be using to do other more important tasks for your brand.
Hypotenuse AI uses the product information you already have — technical features, elaborate attributes, prices, and other specs are all instantly used to give you a solid first draft that is tailored to your brand specs.
Our learning algorithm also improves the more you use it, so your descriptions will be getting better and better as time goes by.
Q: Joshua, can you elaborate on the AI writer and how specific the brand voice training can get? Why is this critical for brands?
A: Our models can be trained on a per-brand basis and is a process that gets down to the nitty gritty, such as the use of a passive or an active voice, adding in specific SEO keywords or pivoting away from a list of words to avoid.
As the brand uses us, our AI continues to learn and adapt based on the data it collects, whether by positive reinforcement or to correct certain mistakes. This gives brands the ability to customize content that is specific to their voice, ensuring quality written content.
Q: Brian, how is Talkoot making it easier for brands to sell more online?
A: When I was the global writing director at adidas, I realized a brand is a complex system of nested stories—from a company’s reason for being, to its product categories, to its collections and collaborations, to the individual products and technologies. And all those stories need to stay consistent and cohesive, one building upon another.
Even for brands that understand their story and are producing amazing products, it’s hard to keep that story consistent and powerful all the way down to the ecommerce product page. There are too many people, too many deliverables and it’s all moving too quickly. Even when everyone is doing great work, how you talk about your products can still come across as schizophrenic and disjointed to the end consumer.
That’s why I founded Talkoot. Talkoot is that one place—from product inception to product launch—where everyone working on your product copy can log in, see what’s been written before, including all the feedback, input, and images, and add their own chapter to the evolving story of that product.
Q: Brian, will this AI tool replace in-house or freelance writers?
A: I began my career as a writer. So, at first, I was intimidated by AI. But the more I dug in and did the research I realized writers have nothing to worry about. AI doesn’t replace writers. It gives them superpowers. That said, it might be quite a while until you need to add a new writer to your staff.
The truth is, human writers are better at some things–like connecting to other humans with just the right word or phrase. AI writers are better at other things–like crunching thousands of data points instantly and turning them into clear, understandable prose. Combined, they’re unstoppable. In my experience, AI does all the gruntwork to generate the 1st draft of product copy. Which frees human writers up to focus on giving your product description that final touch that generates real connection and desire. It also frees them up to work on other, higher impact writing projects.
Q: Brian & Joshua, how does it work? How quickly can a brand get set up?
Joshua: We have a training phase where we gather all the information we need about the brand — style guidelines, brand books and everything their marketing team uses to get their collateral and content consistent, as well as copy that they have written before.
From there, we get our models to learn their content needs and writing tone. After working together with many brands, we’ve managed to tie down this process so that the whole phase takes just 3-4 weeks.
From there, brands can already start having copy generated for their products — but that’s not where it stops.
We provide ongoing support and improvements, and as brands use the tool, the model continues to evolve and get more tailored to them, further enhancing the copy that is generated for them.
Brian: Like Joshua said, it takes 3-4 weeks to create an AI writer that understands your brand language. But it won’t take 3-4 weeks of work on the client’s end. Mostly the work happens on our end mapping your data flows, gathering input and training the model. Brands provide feedback on the product copy the AI generates. It will also take 1-2 training sessions to get your team trained on Talkoot.
You can follow Hypotenuse AI on Linkedin.
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