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Amazon Wants You To Have an AI Shopping Buddy

February 06, 2024

2 min 03 sec read
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Amazon is introducing a new AI shopping assistant, and the best part is "his" name, Rufus.

Amazon Robot with a Shopping Cart Full of Products
Well, hello, Rufus. Sounds like a cute pet name to us, but according to Amazon, Rufus will make your Amazon shopping excursions much better. It won't be long before Amazon customers have a conversational shopping assistant to ask questions, ask for product comparisons, or even hit it up for a few recommendations.

Rufus will do everything but pay for your merchandise out of his AI pocket. He's gone through some extensive training on Amazon's products, customer reviews, community Q&As and even what's being said about Amazon on the big WWW.

AI isn't entirely new to Amazon. The company has been fooling around with it for quite a while now. The personalized recommendations, pick paths in their fulfillment centers, drone deliveries, Alexa chat, and the checkout-free Amazon Go stores are some of the ways AI has made its way into the Amazon shopping experience, and going forward, the company believes AI will change nearly every aspect of the shopping experience.

Amazon likes to brag about its AI achievements, pointing out that in the last year alone they've introduced a bunch of new generative AI-powered capabilities in their store "to make shopping even easier and more convenient," including its AI-generated review highlights meant to give its customers "common themes from dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of reviews at a glance to help them quickly understand customer insights."

And, of course, they've been using generative AI to beef up those product listings by helping their selling partners write better titles and product descriptions.

But all of that is a drop in the bucket compared to Rufus. With this new shopping partner, you can ask general questions like what to look for when buying a certain product, and after Rufus has helped you learn a little more about what you're after, you can ask "him" what products fit the criteria and have the best reviews. You literally don't have to do anything but ask Rufus a few questions, read a little (if you want to), and then whip out your credit card.

If you just can't wait to get to know Rufus, be patient. Most of us are going to have to. Right now, this new shopping assistant is only available to "select customers when they next update their Amazon Shopping app."

To be able to use Rufus, those beta customers just need to start typing or talking into the search bar in Amazon's mobile app, and a Rufus chat dialog box magically shows up at the bottom of their screen. The chat dialog box can be expanded to see what Rufus has to say. From there, you can choose suggested questions, ask follow-up questions to get more specifics, or even politely dismiss Rufus and get back to the traditional search results by swiping down to push the chat dialog box to the bottom of the screen.

If you aren't one of those lucky "selected" users, whoever they are, you'll have to wait to get Rufus to help you with your shopping.

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Categories: Amazon, Apps, Technology
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