Navigating AI Washing in eCommerce

AdVon Commerce
Share this post
how to write a product description

Navigating AI Washing in E-commerce: A Guide for Consumers

AI washing is a concerning trend in the tech industry, where companies exaggerate or falsely represent a product's AI capabilities. Often, AI is used as a buzzword without substantial evidence of its implementation, misleading consumers into believing products are more technologically advanced than they truly are. This practice is similar to greenwashing, where companies overstate their environmental efforts.

Understanding AI Washing

AI Washing is not just a deceptive marketing tactic; it has real consequences. It leads to misinformation, making it difficult for consumers to make informed decisions and for genuine AI innovations to stand out. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued warnings against such unsubstantiated AI claims, urging consumers to be vigilant.

Evaluating AI Claims in E-commerce

When assessing AI-powered products like an AI Chatbot or other AI for retail solutions, it’s crucial to ask the right questions:

  • Proof of Results: Request tangible evidence showing how the AI has improved client outcomes, such as revenue, efficiency, or cost savings.
  • Adaptive Learning: Determine if the AI system learns and evolves over time, offering increasingly sophisticated processing with minimal human intervention.
  • Origin of AI Technology: Find out whether the AI was developed in-house or acquired, and assess how well it integrates with the vendor’s existing technologies.
  • Human Intervention: Check how much human involvement is necessary, which can indicate whether the AI claims are overstated.
  • Role of AI: Clarify whether AI plays a central role in the product or if it is a minor component marketed as a major feature.
  • Sample of Work: Ask for a sample of AI work. Though this can be fabricated, it’s good to see if their system is capable of producing engaging content.

Mitigation Strategies Against AI Washing

To protect against AI washing, it's important to adopt a skeptical approach, particularly when AI claims seem overly ambitious or vague. Utilizing comprehensive questions and checklists, like those found in e-commerce Request for Proposal (RFP) templates, can help critically evaluate vendor claims before making decisions.

The Issue of Technical Debt

Another concern tied to AI washing is Technical Debt. Companies might rush to label their products as AI-driven without proper integration, leading to technical debt where makeshift solutions become permanent liabilities. Understanding the true extent of AI integration can prevent future complications in system upgrades or scalability.


AI washing can significantly impact consumer trust and the perceived value of products. By educating themselves on the signs of AI washing and learning to ask critical questions about AI implementation, consumers and businesses can avoid falling prey to misleading marketing and make more informed decisions. Always strive to understand the consumer language and ensure that content about AI capabilities is engaging and truthful, reflecting the actual benefits and limitations of the technology.

Don’t let your marketplace get lost in the competition.

Create happy shoppers. Our solution ruthlessly removes content complexity in your marketplace so you don't have to. Unlocking value for retailers and brands on the digital shelf.