Trendspotting: Google and Amazon Launch GenAI Product Images

Generative AI continues to find new areas of applicability as early-stage experimentation – or what we’ve been calling the spaghetti test – is underway. Fitting examples and integrations so far include writing copy or conceiving domain names for SMB websites. These address real business pain points.

Search is another area that continues to see AI infusions. For example, Google continues to integrate AI on the front end (Search Generative Experience) and in merchant-facing ways (SEO tasks like writing page meta descriptions). And as we examined yesterday, AI has a growing role in Google Maps.

But eCommerce is perhaps the most fitting venue for AI, and we’re only seeing the first steps. The latest comes from Amazon and Google, which both launched AI features in the last week that automate the production of professional product images for eCommerce pages and listings (e.g., Google Shopping).

Ep. 38 Ponders AI’s Al Dente Test and Tech’s Regulatory ‘Welcome’

Savvy & Snazzy

Taking those one at a time, Amazon was first out of the gate last week with its AI image generation tool. As its name implies, it helps non-media savvy sellers and advertisers generate professional-looking product images for their listings or ads. This includes generating contextually relevant backgrounds.

This works similarly to popular flavors of generative AI in that merchants can enter keyword prompts to produce images. They first upload product photos, then simply type image descriptions or desired backgrounds (think: beach, kitchen, autumn, sunset, etc.), and it spits out snazzy product images.

Merchants can play with this functionality until they get the image they want – a process that will naturally condition their skills as prompt engineers. But it’s meant for any skill level, and will likely have broad applicability to SMBs and brands, which can both benefit from time and cost savings.

Moreover, this addresses an area that’s primed for AI: brand marketing. Early in the generative AI hype cycle, this was the area we pointed to as the most prone for disruption, along with adjacent areas like stock photography. Generating images on the fly scratches several itches for large and small marketers.

Meanwhile, Amazon has begun rolling out the tool to select advertisers, which will expand towards open access in the coming months. We expect it to be a popular choice among brands and SMBs – likely in that order of adoption. And we’ll see other eCommerce players follow suit to remain competitive.

Ep. 3 Explores AI’s Potential

Craveability & Conversions. 

Moving on to Google’s latest integration, it similarly generates custom product images for product listings. Known as AI-Powered Product Studio, it features text-to-image AI that’s driven by prompts. And like Amazon’s play, its primary purpose is image backgrounds, such as colors or thematic scene setting.

The use-case example that Google spotlights is beauty brands that can position skincare products surrounded by seasonal imagery or ingredient-evoking fare like peaches and tropical plants. This is all about boosting the craveability of a given product, pursuant to driving what really matters: conversions.

In addition to adding backgrounds, Product Studio can do things like remove distracting backgrounds and replace them with simple color gradients or other modern looks. It can also improve and upscale low-quality images, which could save marketers money when compared with costly reshoots.

Speaking of reshoots, one value proposition behind Product Studio (and Amazon’s corresponding play above), is to engender more variety from a single product photo. That can include seasonal variations in the background or more specific thematic elements like specific holidays or bespoke campaign themes.

As for timing, the new features in Product Studio will be available immediately to Google’s Merchant Center Next users in the U.S..  Notably, Google will also distribute this functionality outside of its own walls, such as partnerships and apps that it has on other platforms, such as the YouTube app on Shopify.

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