We’ve all used generative AI to do our homework, write an email, or create marketing assets. But the technology is much more than that. When I first tried ChatGPT, I wondered how it would impact e-commerce. Before I thought of copywriting or improving images, I thought that we would very shortly see Amazon saturated with AI-generated books. 

What I didn’t realize was how much generative AI would impact product development. AI can help easily generate thousands of logos, images, mockups, or even memes. This is definitely a game changer for everything print-on-demand. I have even heard of board games designed using Gen AI to help with game mechanics ideas, write the story, design visual game components, and test the game. 

The article linked below focuses on the jewelry manufacturer and how they use AI to help in creating new items and saving weeks of work. “He can even ask it to produce 50 iterations from that single prompt. In return, the generative AI will output complete designs, some of which might be ready to turn into tangible products.” While the technology has its limits (for example on the physics involved and how to generate “feasible” products), I can see how useful it can be.

As a consequence, I believe this can contribute to making major online marketplaces even more crowded. I am thinking Amazon, of course, but also Etsy or eBay. As I explained in my recent post on Etsy, I think some companies will have to fight the “paradox of choice”, as the decision process for customers keeps getting more difficult. Generative AI can offer more options and make it very difficult for customers to pick one, thinking there is always a “better” option one click away.

Fortunately, new technologies can also facilitate the buying decision by providing personalized recommendations. I like how Etsy now uses a mix of human expertise and machine learning in its Gift Mode feature to show customers a curated assortment of items.

Maybe the challenge of quantity vs. quality of options will contribute to widening the gap in customer experience between marketplaces and D2C websites. Maybe what Trader Joe did in retail can be relevant online. Either way, I am curious to see where this is going and what the next step will be when it comes to product development. Another guess is that it will lower barriers to entry in many industries, turning blue oceans red.