How GPT Spotlight Makes E-Commerce Product Search & Discovery More Intuitive for Shoppers

During the last 25 years or so, internet users have been trained to use search boxes in very specific ways. Rather than saying exactly what they want, users have learned to emulate categories and triggers in their search based on what they assume the search engine can understand. The way a user “talks” to a search engine is very different than the way they would ask an actual person about the same subject – especially in the context of shopping.

For example, a parent looking for children’s costumes might reduce their search to “kids costumes cartoon characters” when in reality, their real criteria is “a costume for my 6-year old who loves PBS cartoons.” An athlete’s search for the perfect shoes for a half marathon in June becomes the robotic query “running shoes.” Consumers are looking for a proverbial needle in a haystack, and they’ve become accustomed to the fact that current forms of search make that haystack a bit more manageable – but only if you use the “right” search terms. Prompts that require a nuanced opinion based on any number of factors or criteria don’t work with existing forms of search, so consumers take the onus upon themselves to parse through results manually once a search engine spits out a reasonable amount of them.

Reimagining search and discovery with GPT Spotlight

With recent advancements in large language model technology such as ChatGPT, the world is reevaluating what it means to search and discover information or items on the internet. ChatGPT is far more evolved than your typical chatbot – it can respond conversationally, contextualize based on specificity or previous queries, and refine its responses or search results based on additional feedback from users. Why not implement these sorts of benefits into an online shopping experience? Enter GPT Spotlight, a ChatGPT tool built for Shopify and other e-commerce environments.

GPT Spotlight is a new and intuitive way for customers to discover relevant items or products, driving more conversions and improving customer loyalty and retention. Using normal language, customers can share criteria and inspiration, the same way they would interact with a retail store associate. Users no longer have to dumb down their search queries in order to fit the old search engine mold. They can be as specific – or vague – as they want to be and Spotlight will still surface highly relevant results based on that query. Plus, there’s never a need to start from scratch with a brand new search query – GPT Spotlight remembers all of your input and iterates appropriately based on the continued conversation.

GPT Spotlight, built on ChatGPT technology for Shopify and e-commerce, presents many novel opportunities for users to discover items that would never be possible online with traditional search. Some of these include:

  • Vague or abstract search. A customer is going for a certain “vibe” or “feel” but doesn’t know exactly what they want. That’s okay, just tell GPT Spotlight “I want something a little edgy.”
  • Results based on cultural references. Users get inspired by the media they consume. Tell GPT Spotlight “I want furniture that looks like it belongs in a Wes Anderson film” and instantly get relevant recommendations.
  • Highly contextualized recommendations. “Going to a formal wedding in Miami in July and need a comfortable suit.” Let GPT Spotlight do its magic and give the user a result that will keep them cool but also stylish.
  • Match items the user already has. “I need a belt to go with my brown patent leather shoes.” GPT Spotlight knows just the right options to perfectly accentuate what’s already in a customer’s closet.
  • Refined search – conversationally. GPT Spotlight serves up results a search for critically acclaimed mystery novels, but the user decides to be more specific. “Actually, show me only the books released before the year 2000.” Boom – detective stories from the 20th century only headed your way.

Unlearning past search and discovery behavior by using intelligent, conversational prompts

The whole idea behind GPT Spotlight’s technology is to put the power back in the hands of the user to get great results without limiting them to robotic language or unnatural ways of searching. However, because this has been the norm for so long, it may take some getting used to at first. That’s why it’s important for online retailers to arm themselves with intelligent prompts that can get a user’s creative juices flowing until they come up with their own questions or queries. This will put the user in the mindset that they’re talking to something more akin to a personal curator or friend whose taste they trust rather than a search engine or more primitive chatbots they’re accustomed to. 

Do you think GPT Spotlight may be a good fit for your e-commerce store? Check out the product page for more information.

John Calderon
Senior Manager, Marketing Communications

John has over a decade of marketing experience, with an emphasis on content creation across email, web, social, and white papers. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCLA.