Amazon experiments with AI-powered shopping assistant to enhance customer experience



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Summary

So no one has to wade through customer reviews anymore, there is now an Amazon chatbot that answers questions about products.

Amazon has launched an AI-powered shopping assistant to help customers find answers to their questions about specific products. The new feature is designed to make shopping more convenient by providing quick answers based on information from product reviews and descriptions.

Image: Marketplace Pulse

The AI shopping assistant appears in the “Looking for specific information?” section of a product page, currently only in the Amazon app and not on the website, Marketplace Pulse found. Previously, reviews could be searched for specific questions. Now, Amazon is going a step further and feeding a generative answer from the reviews and product descriptions.

Amazon’s AI shopping assistant: still plenty of room for improvement

However, the AI assistant has some limitations. It does not compare products, find alternatives, knows price history, or perform any actions, such as adding the product to the shopping cart, which would make it more useful as a shopping assistant. It can also occasionally provide incorrect information or refuse to answer basic questions such as product price, according to Marketplace Pulse.

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Because Amazon uses an unnamed large language model, the shopping assistant doesn’t always have to answer as Amazon predicts. If desired, the assistant can answer the question in a different form, such as a joke, a play, or a poem. The difficulties that shopping platform operators can face when using generative AI chatbots have been demonstrated in the past, sometimes with dramatic consequences.

Amazon has plans for generative AI

The AI shopping assistant is part of Amazon’s ongoing experiments with generative AI. The company has previously tested AI-generated summaries of product reviews and provided sellers with AI tools to help them create product listings and generate images for ads. Amazon is also investing heavily in AI startup Anthropic, which is developing Claude, a GPT-4 alternative, but also recently launched its own chatbot called Q.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has championed the potential of generative AI, saying it will transform the customer experience and make AI more accessible to everyday developers and business users.

Amazon’s AI shopping assistant is currently in an experimental phase and has not yet been rolled out on a large scale. Expect Amazon to integrate AI in even more places in the future — and perhaps eventually not just at the product level, but at the entire catalog level.

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