Amazon Launches New Generative AI Shopping Tool

Tired of scrolling through long product listings and reviews? Amazon’s latest feature aims to make shopping even easier.

Amazon is rolling out a new generative AI tool that can answer shoppers’ questions about a product and respond to creative prompts.

The feature has been designed to prevent shoppers from having to scroll through reviews or a product listing itself in order to find information.

This news highlights a clear trend of AI capabilities beginning to merge with e-Commerce. Just last week Microsoft and Walmart announced an AI-powered search function that aims to understand the context behind a customer’s query in order to generate personalized search results.

Better, Easier Shopping Ahead

Ever had a question about a product on Amazon that you struggled to find an answer for? Scrolling through lengthy product listings or hundreds of reviews in the chance of finding the information you need could soon be a thing of the past. 

Amazon has this week rolled out its latest AI tool that can answer shoppers’ questions about a specific item. In a few seconds the AI feature will deliver an answer, having first summarized information collated from the product review and listing.

This isn’t a wide-scale release, however. Currently only available in Amazon’s mobile app, it’s likely the technology will go through several iterations before being released to the web, with Amazon spokesperson Maria Boschetti stating:

“We’re constantly inventing to help make customers’ lives better and easier, and are currently testing a new feature powered by generative AI to improve shopping on Amazon by helping customers get answers to commonly asked product questions”.

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Let’s Not Get Too Chatty Though

The tool hasn’t been designed to carry out a “conversation”, like OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google’s Bard, but it does have a few creative quirks for users to enjoy.

Need to hear a product description written in the style of Yoda from Star Wars? How about a haiku on the t-shirt you’ve just been looking at? The new search feature will respond to creative prompts like those, but that’s where the fun will end.

Deviating into non-item based questions such as “Who is Jeff Bezos?” will return an error message, as the tool is not designed to veer from the topic of products.

Full Steam Ahead For AI

When it comes to AI tools, this isn’t Amazon’s first rodeo. 

Towards the end of last year, it released Amazon Q – a generative-AI assistant for the workplace that has been trained on 17 years of Amazon Web Services information. As well as this, third-party sellers can now use AI features to help them generate imagery for ads and write product listings.

Perhaps most interestingly however, is the possible foundation for this latest AI search functionality – Amazon’s AI-generated product review summaries. The company began testing this feature last summer, and the functionality gave users an overview of what shoppers liked and disliked about a particular product. This kind of information seems to main source of context that the new generative search capability is drawing upon.

All in all, Amazon doesn’t look set to slow down its AI innovations any time soon.

In its latest earnings call, CEO of Amazon Web Services Andy Jassy stated that the company will be using generative-AI to forecast inventory and figure out the best routes for its drivers. 

“Generative-AI is going to change every customer experience, and it’s going to make it much more accessible for everyday developers, and even business users, to use. So I think there’s going to be a lot of societal good.”

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Written by:
Ellis Di Cataldo (MA) has over 9 years experience writing about, and for, some of the world’s biggest tech companies. She's been the lead writer across digital campaigns, always-on content and worldwide product launches, for global brands including Sony, Electrolux, Byrd, The Open University and Barclaycard. Her particular areas of interest are business trends, startup stories and product news.
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