Jul 28, 2020|

Behind the Scenes: JD’s “Lightning” Equips E-Commerce with an AI Content Generator


by Yuchuan Wang

JD.com is empowering online merchants and content marketers with AI to create relevant content. According to the latest data revealed by JD, compared to manually drafted content, the AI-powered “JD Lightning” intelligent content generation platform helps attract 6.6% more traffic and increases the average order size by 24.37%.

“Lightning” was launched in 2019 based on JD’s AI writing robot Li Bai and Shakespeare. Leveraging AI and big data, it helps merchants and content marketers produce text and image with one click, or produce videos in under 40 seconds. E-commerce provides an enormous source of data and opportunities for unique applications, while AI provides a boost to operational efficiency.

Video descriptions are gaining popularity with e-commerce merchants as they have proven to have higher conversion rates than text and images. Data shows that during big shopping festivals, the daily view count of short videos on JD can reach 2 billion.

While it is often costly and time-consuming to produce product description videos, AI makes “Lightning” automatically generate videos in seconds, making it an ideal tool. By simply inputting the product ID (each product on JD has a unique ID number), “Lightning” will automatically acquire product images and texts from the product page. AI algorithm selects the materials, ranks them, and matches them with certain music to generate videos. Thus far, the adoption rate of “Lightning” generated videos has reached 90%.





AI-generated video product description

“Lightning” is also constantly learning and improving itself. For example, with NLP (natural language processing) technology, by inputting a few key words, users can direct “Lightning” to write marketing content that understands their intentions, and generate different content suitable for various marketing materials. Machine learning further helps the platform keep learning from the massive trove of product information, customer reviews, and content from the internet to tailor its content based on new trends and continue to improve the quality of its offerings. According to JD, the company plans to launch 100 million new products from 2020 to 2022, meaning every day there are about 100,000 pieces of new content being uploaded.

Automated transparent background picture generation

As of now, tens of millions of pieces of content have been created by the “Lightning” platform and have brought hundreds of millions of RMB in gross merchandise volume. However, AI’s creations are not always perfect. The technology’s nature limits its works from an artistic point of view as it cannot replace the imagination and creativity of humans no matter how advanced it becomes.

“AI’s purpose is not to imitate humans, but to serve them,” said Bowen Zhou, chair of JD’s technology committee, during Davos 2020. In the field of e-commerce, JD will continue to leverage AI to automate its supply chain and bring the best service and products to its consumers.