In this podcast, we explore leveraging AI-driven ecommerce for business growth through data analysis. Our featured guest on the show is Charles Camisasca, founder at ecommboardroom.com.
On the Show Today You'll Learn:
- How AI can be overwhelming in the e-commerce space.
- The biggest advantages of using AI in e-commerce.
- How AI plays a role in data analysis for e-commerce businesses.
- The role of AI in improving SEO for blog posts.
- The benefits of integrating multiple Shopify stores into one dashboard.
- Trends expected in the e-commerce and AI space in the coming months..
Links & Resources
Shopify App Store: https://apps.shopify.com/boardroom
About Our Podcast Guest: Charles Camisasca
Charles Camisasca is the founder at ecommboardroom.com. He is a former management consultant who transitioned into the e-commerce realm, taking on roles such as a brand owner, blogger, author, and app developer within the e-commerce space. His books and blogs have garnered readership from thousands of entrepreneurs, and he has enjoyed the opportunity to conduct surveys and interviews with hundreds of fellow brand owners in recent years. His most recent endeavor, an app named Boardroom, serves as an all-in-one data management platform. It empowers brand owners to enhance efficiency and decision-making through the implementation of AI-powered features, aiming to save time and improve overall business decisions.
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Introduction and Guest Introduction
Claus Lauter: Hello and welcome to another episode of the e commerce coffee break podcast.
Discussion on AI in E-commerce
Claus Lauter: Today, we want to dive into AI artificial intelligence. And I have the feeling I'll get about 50 emails a day with new solutions. Applications are coming out every day and it's a bit of overwhelming, but obviously AI is a big part of every business or it should be a big part of every business because obviously it saves a lot of time and helps really in achieving things.
Introduction to EcomBot and its Founder
Claus Lauter: So with me on the show today, I have Charles Kamiskaska with me. He is the founder of ecomboardroom. com he's a former management consultant who transitioned into the e commerce realm, taking on roles such as brand owner, blogger, author. App developer within the e commerce space, his books and blogs have garnered readership from thousands of entrepreneurs, and he has enjoyed the opportunity to conduct surveys and interviews with hundreds of fellow brand owners in recent years.
His most recent endeavor, an app called boardroom serves as an all in one data management platform. So we want to go in that route and talk about AI. And I would like to welcome Charlie to the show. Hi, how are you today?
Charles Camisasca: I'm doing very well. Thanks, Klaus. It's a joy to be with you.
Claus Lauter: Charlie, let's dive right in.
AI in E-commerce: Challenges and Opportunities
Claus Lauter: You talk to a lot of brand owners, merchants, people in the e commerce space, and obviously AI must have been a topic that came up during your talks with them. What's the feeling, the feedback you get, what people have when it comes to artificial
Charles Camisasca: intelligence? You hit the nail on the head, which is that it's a little bit of overwhelm for most people.
As you suggest when you go on social media or LinkedIn, there's just constant barrage of new AI tools that is being just. Rust in front of people each and every day. And oftentimes they can seem to be making contradictory claims, or it's just difficult to see through the murky waters of AI right now in the world of e commerce.
So when I talk to brand owners, that's the sense that I get. People are looking for clarity, and clear direction on how that they can best use it for their business.
Claus Lauter: Now, a lot of merchants, specifically if they're in marketing like me they have a shiny object syndrome. So they try out everything that comes out and obviously that takes a lot of time away.
when it comes to e commerce, time is one of the most important things. You want to invest your time in a way that you get the most out of it.
Advantages of AI in E-commerce
Claus Lauter: What do you think are the biggest advantages of using AI right now in the e commerce space?
Charles Camisasca: Yeah, that's a great question. And I love what you said about shiny object syndrome.
I think if you've been working at this e commerce game for any length of time, you've probably encountered that simply because there are just so many products, so many strategies, so many platforms to experiment with that it's easy to get pulled in different directions. And actually, that's one piece of advice that I would really give people is try to avoid that if at all possible.
You do want to make sure you're on the bleeding edge of technology and using the most effective tools, but you also want to make sure you have that clarity of focus at your business and just be about that one thing. But back to your question, what are some of the biggest benefits of using AI for e commerce?
I'll speak from the perspective of our software application primarily, because that's where I'm most familiar. Now, I think there are other use cases for AI besides what I'm about to share with you guys. But speaking from our experience and the experience of our product, we think that there are really two great use cases for AI that are pretty simple to understand and simple to implement for e commerce businesses.
Use Cases of AI in E-commerce
Charles Camisasca: So the first one of those is data analysis. And I know that can sound scary. Right off the bat, but we keep it really simple. And most people aren't aware that they can use AI for this, but these large language models, similar to chat GPT, that's the most familiar one out there.
They are capable of synthesizing and accepting tons of data and information into the model. And then they can take that data, summarize it. analyze it, and even provide recommendations for practical next steps for how to move forward related to that data. And so that's one of the things that we built into the boardroom app is through an integration with open AI, a simple data analysis tool.
So you connect your Shopify store into boardroom. You click a button that says, analyze, And that's pretty much all you have to do. The AI takes it from there. It will give you a nice summary of your business across five key metrics. we keep it real simple, the five most important metrics that your business.
And then the AI will also then give you actionable tips and recommendations for how you can go about improving those key metrics in real life. So data analysis, that's use case number one for AI that I think a lot of brands are maybe ignoring or not aware of, but I think more and more are coming to realize that AI can become like a little accountant or assistant for your business which is very useful and a big time saver for a lot of companies.
Now, the second use case, which is probably more widely known, and more popular right now is text based content creation. you can hop into chat GPT and ask it to write a product description for a product on your e commerce website, for example. Now, that's another use case that we have jumped on and really integrated into our software.
We've thoroughly tested rather certain AI prompts so that we can achieve a reliably consistently good result from the AI across three primary types of content. So we have templates within our app that can help users to create product descriptions, emails. and blog posts, most importantly.
That's one where we have a really differentiated product.
Discussion on Blogging Feature of EcomBot
Charles Camisasca: And I'm excited to talk a little bit more about the blog post feature, if that's okay with you class. Now, I love the approach
Claus Lauter: that you have there, because if you're using chat GPT, and I think a lot of people already have at least played around with it, you will quickly find out that without the right prompt, it's basically, it's useless.
Whatever you get out of it, you need to really think about is like, what do I want to get out of it? And what I understand from you is that you did the hard lifting and doing the right prompts and that helps obviously immersion in generating things much, much quicker. Now let's dive a little bit into, the features, for instance, for blogging, how does that work?
Charles Camisasca: Yeah, absolutely. The way that we've done it, and you're right, we've done the heavy lifting, lifting of testing out those AI prompts for you. So what we ask you to do is fill out a very simple questionnaire within the boardroom app. What's the topic of this blog post? What keyword are you trying to rank for in search engines?
Roughly how many words should the blog post be? Then you click generate, and that's it. And then we have this elaborate prompt in the background that's running behind the scenes to get a reliably solid blog post. Now, we don't just stop there because you could theoretically do a version of that in ChatGPT.
So where we really add value is we then give you an editor directly in the app. So there's no copying and pasting necessary. And we also analyze the text that's been returned by the A. I. So we have a sort of an S. E. O. analysis that we do on that text and we provide you with a score out of 100 for the S.
- O. of that article. For example, you might fill out that questionnaire that I mentioned. I generates the blog post, but the S. E. O. score is a 65 out of 100 right off the bat. Okay, then we give you 20 little tips for how you can optimize that post using our editor so that it's ready to start ranking and search engines and producing organic traffic for your website.
If you're familiar at all with a tool like Yoast, which is very popular on WordPress websites. It's a little bit like Yoast plus chat GPT, but also connected with your Shopify store. So after you've optimized that post using the editor and the SEO tips. You can then just click a button that says publish and it goes directly to your website and it's live and ready for consumption by your readers.
Claus Lauter: That sounds like a lifesaver obviously there's a massive synergy effect in there. And I like that it's integrated already on the Shopify, blog platform. So you don't need to copy and paste between different applications and going back and forth. It's all out of one hand. So let's say, what other, and you're not stopping there.
I see that there is more features to your app. Just talk me through
Charles Camisasca: it. it would be helpful to tell you a little bit about the background of how I started the app, which will lead into some of the other features that we love to talk about.
Like you mentioned at the beginning, professional background is in technology consulting, but I've always been super interested in entrepreneurship. And so about four or five years ago, I actually started a few little e commerce brands. Myself. I'm very familiar with the e commerce business model.
I started selling, biodegradable plates on Amazon. That was my first brand. That went pretty well and was a lot of fun. Then I pivoted into Shopify and tried drop shipping out and some other fulfillment models as well. But while I was running those online brands, I quickly became frustrated with certain aspects of the software landscape.
And so one of those points of frustration was. That anytime I wanted to do something like calculate my net profit or any metric that could be calculated across these different connected platforms like Shopify, Facebook ads, Google ads, and all of these are different data sources, right? For your e commerce brand.
So anytime I wanted to do some sort of synthesis across platforms, I was downloading spreadsheets and combining them into a Google sheet and. Writing painful formulas. I'm sure many of the business owners that are listening, no, this exercise that I'm talking about. So I got frustrated with that and using my background in software implementation, I decided, Hey, why don't I just, try to start a e commerce software platform that can help to solve this problem.
And so that was the sort of original intent of boardroom. And we still do solve that problem pretty well. And many of our customers Love using boardroom for its business intelligence capabilities. So with boardroom, you can integrate very easily just by clicking a few buttons, the data from your Shopify store, your Facebook ads account, and your Google ads account into one dashboard.
we are working on an Amazon integration as well. So if you happen to sell on both Amazon and Shopify, soon you'll be able to monitor your sales from both of those platforms in boardroom. Which is pretty exciting. So we calculate then tons of KPIs and metrics based on that sort of synthesis of your data, giving people clear visibility into exactly how their business is doing.
And also just doing kind of common sense things to make your life easier. Now, if you're familiar with Shopify, it's a great platform, but there are certain aspects of it that are maybe a little bit deficient. One of those for me, for example, is the customer data that's in Shopify. There's not really a built in CRM in Shopify.
That's very easy to use. But the data is all there. So in boardroom, we decided to just build a quick little CRM that people can use. So you have a centralized database with each customer's contact information, financial details, where they're located in the country, and you can sort and filter and report and create segments as well that you can then target with, maybe an email marketing campaign.
Or a remarketing campaign through advertising or something like that. So our CRM is one of our more popular analytics features. So I like to mention that. And the last thing about the CRM that I always love to throw in there is that we have a customer heat map, which is like lit up map of the world, showing you a visual representation of where our customers are located.
I always just think it's a very fun page to look at and get a good sense for where my customers are.
Claus Lauter: Yeah, I saw that on your website and I love that feature. That's, as I said, it's a fun way to see where people are. Now, what I love, and I think I can at least relate to it, is the story of What happens to a lot of merchants, they start to come from drop shipping, business grows, things become more complex, and they are looking for tools to make it work, to get through the hurdles.
From what I understand with the tight integration that you have into Shopify, you just offering on top of Shopify, a lot of features. Like the CRM, like the analytics, like the AI tools.
Onboarding and Integration of EcomBot
Claus Lauter: Now, how does the onboarding or the integration work? What kind of steps do I need to go through to get it up and
Charles Camisasca: running?
Yeah, absolutely. Great question. There's actually two ways you can sign up for boardroom. Number one is you can sign up through our website. And then it's, we have very simple onboarding instructions from there that we help you out with. Way number two, which a lot of people, maybe prefer it's because it's a familiar process.
is that boardroom is available in the Shopify app store. So you can simply install the app like you do any other app. We'll take over from there with some more simple onboarding instructions for how you can then sync your advertising accounts. We have a great customer support model as well that we really prioritize.
We are trying to go against the grain. When it comes to customer service at boardroom, in today's world, everything is so impersonal, You sign up for an app and you're left to experiment with it and try it out yourself. And some people like that, but some people want a little more hands on help.
. With boardroom, when you sign up, you get a dedicated customer support rep who is a real person, not an automated email that reaches out to you and just make sure that everything looks good in your account and is there to hop on a call and screen share if you're, going through any issues. So that's something we really prioritize.
We think onboarding is important and we just want to make sure that. Everybody gets up to speed easily with the app.
Claus Lauter: I love the approach. So it's not all artificial nowadays. There's still a human factor in there. Where would you draw the line between using AI in your store? Because there's so many facets, so many areas where you potentially can use it and where you should still be, offering a contact to a human
Charles Camisasca: being.
it depends on your size and your approach, right? There are certain brands out there who I'm sure would love to have a personal one on one approach to customer support. But maybe they're getting millions of visitors each month on their website.
And it's just not realistic. I totally get that. If that's your situation, then you're probably not too concerned about it. Cause things are probably going pretty well, but if you're a smaller brand and you're looking to stand out and really differentiate yourself, then I would recommend that wherever possible within the reasonable.
Cost constraints that you might have add a little personal flavor, add a little personal human touch. I think it goes a long way. And like I said, in today's world, people are so used to this impersonal person to machine relationship that I think you can stand out in people's minds if you have a person to person contact.
Future Trends in AI and E-commerce
Claus Lauter: Now you have got your finger on the pulse of e commerce and artificial intelligence. What kind of trends do you see coming up in the next couple of months when it comes to optimizing that and using AI?
Charles Camisasca: As I mentioned, people are maybe a little bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of AI tools that are out there.
I hope that, and this is what we're betting on with boardroom. hope that people are moving towards consolidation. A complaint that I hear from Shopify brands all the time is that they're sick and tired of having 25 apps. that they have to add to their store in order to get it running properly.
So what we've done at boardroom is we've taken basically the top 10 most commonly used add ons in Shopify, and we tried to consolidate them while adding, some additional functionality on top of it. Just to make the most bang for your buck, the most useful application possible so that you can have one subscription that you're paying for.
Instead of 10. And I think that's the direction we're moving because I think people are faced with almost decision fatigue. When it comes to e commerce and AI right now. We're trying to make people's lives easier, help people to make better, more data driven decisions in the world of e commerce.
I think the direction that we're heading. Yeah,
Claus Lauter: it makes perfectly sense.
Pricing Structure of EcomBot
Claus Lauter: Talking about that, what's the pricing structure? How does
Charles Camisasca: that work? We bill based on the total monthly orders of your connected store. So something I haven't mentioned yet is that boardroom also allows you to integrate multiple Shopify stores into the same dashboard.
So it's something that actually a lot of our customers, it's a trend. I'd say is that a lot of Shopify merchants are starting to open multiple stores in different industries or different practices, and so you can merge them all into boardroom and monitor everything from one dashboard. Now, our pricing structure then is the cumulative orders across all of your connected stores per month.
So, if you only have one store, it's just, what's your total orders for the last 30 days? That determines your bill for this month. And our pricing, we start at 14 a month it's pretty reasonable as far as BI and AI tools go, part of that is just, we have a heart for small businesses. Me coming from the background of starting my own little Shopify brands in the last five years.
I know how daunting it can be to be faced with all these decisions about, well, should I pay for this app? Should I pay for that one? So we try to make it inexpensive for new businesses. And then the pricing, our goal is basically grow with boardroom, once you get over a hundred monthly orders, that's when we increase the price from 14 a month, just to 29 a month.
And then you're at that 29 a month range until you get to 500 monthly orders. something that I love to see as a customer who started in that lower tier uses boardroom to help grow their business. And moves up to the next year. and they don't mind paying, 29 a month for boardroom instead of 14 because boardrooms helped them grow their business, that's , a really gratifying story for me.
I hope that we'll continue to see more of that. Yeah,
Claus Lauter: that's definitely a very reasonable pricing. Cool.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
Claus Lauter: Before we come to the end of our coffee break today, is there one final thoughts that you want to leave our listeners with?
Charles Camisasca: We've covered lot of ground here in 20 minutes.
First thing I want to do is just thank you for having me on. It's a really cool show that you've got here. It's a stacked lineup of awesome guests. I know that e commerce brand owners are getting a lot out of listening to your show. Kudos to you and thank you for having me on.
And then the last thing I would add is just if something I said today sounds interesting to you and you want to check out the border map, we actually created a little custom discount code for the listeners. So if you want to sign up on our website, you can enter coffee break, all one word, and you'll get 75 percent off your first month with us.
Something to think about.
Claus Lauter: Okay. So I would highly recommend to go to ecomboardroom. com that's ecom with double M and check it out there. And I will put the links in the show notes and then you're just one click away. Charlie, thanks so much for giving us an overview today on AI and e commerce. I think a lot of things are moving there and I think your application there is a great help to merchants to make things just much easier in their already busy life.
Charles Camisasca: Thanks so much for your time today. Thanks very much for having me Klaus. Much appreciated.
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