Member Exclusive   //   March 7, 2024

Amazon Briefing: Sellers are increasingly seeking out AI tools to edit product images

This is the latest installment of the Amazon Briefing, a weekly Modern Retail+ column about the ever-changing Amazon ecosystem. More from the series →

When people scroll through Amazon, some of the product images they see might have already been altered by AI. 

More sellers are using AI tools to create lifestyle or seasonal images of their products to cut costs and attract customers. Cheerdocious Founder Teajai Kimsey — whose brand sells a range of handcrafted products like stuffed animals and home decor — said views of her products have doubled since she began using Adobe Photoshop’s AI capabilities to add seasonal backgrounds for her products a few months ago. Evan Cohen, who operates a jewelry store on Amazon called Art Attack, said using Canva’s AI tool to edit product images has eliminated the cost of a graphic designer.

As artificial intelligence’s popularity surges, more Amazon sellers have begun to increase their use of AI. Early last year, when tools like ChatGPT were dominating headlines, more vendors started offering AI programs to help with product descriptions. Now with platforms like Canva and Adobe’s Photoshop launching a slew of AI tools, sellers have started using AI to enhance their product images. Amazon also introduced its own AI-powered image generation tool in October, which helps add backgrounds to plain images.

Amazon sellers interviewed by Modern Retail said they mainly use AI to change the background of their product images. Amazon requires sellers to list a photo of their product with a white background, but they could also add lifestyle photos to give shoppers a better understanding of the item’s size or how the product can be used. For example, vendors that sell chocolates might add AI-generated roses or hearts in the background to signal the product’s giftability on Valentine’s Day.

But Phil Masiello, founder of powdered superfood brand Uplift Florae and CEO of revenue acceleration agency Crunchgrowth, said editing and doing seasonal photoshoots can be expensive and time-consuming. “You don’t want to do photo shoots every month,” he said. “You want to keep staying relevant and it’s not easy to do.”

Before using AI, Cheerdocious’ Kimsey said she didn’t have any lifestyle images at all for her shop, which has been active for around four years. Apart from Amazon, Cheerdocious also has a DTC site. Over the holiday, she added Christmas-themed backgrounds on her stuffed animals to signal its giftability. She also created lifestyle images for her home decor products to give shoppers an understanding of what it would look like in their homes. 

“It used to be you had to really have some mad skills to be able to edit your photos or to add something in the background,” Kimsey said. “People will buy more from [listings with] lifestyle photos than they will with just a plain photo.” 

Thanks to AI photo-editing tools, Kimsey said her listings are now attracting more eyeballs. In addition to photos, Kimsey has also been using AI to generate product descriptions. “If I was getting 1,000 views before, I’m easily getting 2,500 or more now,” she said.

Much like Cheerdocious, Natural Events brand owner Jake Zaratsian said the company has been experimenting with AI over the last six months to add seasonal elements like a Santa hat or a Christmas tree to existing images. Natural Events offers disposable palm leaf plates on Amazon. Zaratsian said AI has allowed him to generate more photo assets that can be used for his listings as well as social media marketing.  

“The only way would have been to hire a photographer to take another image,” Zaratsian said. “I would be very against doing that just because it would cost a lot of money for a seasonal image.”

Having to hire a photographer or a graphic designer can be pricey. Art Attack’s Cohen, who also founded consulting firm MyEcomGuide, said that without Canva’s AI tool, he would be spending $5 per image just to add a white background and it would usually take two to three weeks for a graphic designer to complete. The $5 cost can add up for Cohen, who currently has about 700 active items on Amazon. 

Cohen said he has used AI to edit hundreds of product images. The editing process that used to take weeks to complete, now only takes a few minutes, Cohen said. He began using AI for product images for the last three to four months.  

“My costs have gone down,” he said. “I’m able to list products a lot faster. My efficiency is really through the roof.”     

Crunchgrowth’s Masiello said that sellers used to be more selective with which holiday they wanted to have seasonal photoshoots with. But now sellers can participate in more niche holidays like Mother’s Day or Easter. 

While using AI for images can be beneficial for brands, Masiello said brands still need to be selective of which AI tool they use, otherwise they could cause customers to be weary of their brand. “You want your product to look high quality. You want the images to look like they’re real,” he said. “You don’t want it to look like it was developed by an AI.”

Amazon news to know

  • Amazon’s new seller fees go into place over the next month. Brands told Fortune that the hikes may force them to make major changes to their businesses.
  • More aggregator consolidation: Razor Group is acquiring the roll-up company Perch in a deal that reportedly values both businesses at $1.7 billion.
  • The latest Whole Foods physical retail pivot focuses on smaller stores. The Amazon-owned grocer is opening five new locations in New York that have fewer items and carry mostly essential grocery products.

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