Amazon is taking its work with artificial intelligence (AI) one step further, as it announces the beta of its new AI shopper, Rufus.
Now in its beta stage, Rufus is “a generative AI-powered expert shopping assistant” that’s trained on the e-commerce giant’s product catalog, customer reviews, community questions, and other web data to help customers make informed choices about the products they want to buy.
Amazon CEO Ted Jassy announced the launch on X today (2 Feb).
Ever notice it’s hard to get great answers on shopping journey questions? And, to get good answers where they’re deeply integrated into a shopping experience you love and trust?
Buying guidance like: “what is important to consider when buying headphones?”
Shopping missions… pic.twitter.com/Pc6EynyGir
— Andy Jassy (@ajassy) February 2, 2024
How Amazon’s Rufus AI works
At the core of Rufus is its ability to answer customer questions. It tells customers what specific factors they should consider when looking to buy a product, such as ‘what to consider when buying headphones’, for instance, while also giving them the option of shopping ‘by occasion or purpose.’
By this, Amazon means that customers can search for products based on an activity or event. So, if someone wants to start golfing, Rufus will recommend categories like golf clubs and base layers. Or, if you want to get a recommendation based on the occasion, you can also search for things like ‘the best Valentine’s gift’ and so forth.
Then, once you’ve narrowed it down to a specific product, Rufus can help you ask targeted questions tailored to that specific product, such as ‘Are these golf clubs good for beginners?’ Along with all that, Rufus also helps you compare and contrast items in different categories, like lip gloss versus lip oil.
So, basically, Rufus can generate an answer for your specific question by trawling through their own Amazon archives and the world wide web.
At the moment, the beta is only available to “select” customers, but when it comes down to it, the interface is pretty simple. All customers need to do is type their questions into the usual search bar, which will then trigger a separate dialogue box for you to chat with Rufus and ask follow-up questions, if necessary.
All in all, according to Amazon, Rufus “meaningfully improves how easy it is for customers to find and discover the best products to meet their needs, integrated seamlessly into the same Amazon shopping experience they use regularly.”
After the beta period, Rufus will be rolled out in full in the coming weeks.
Jassy described the product as: “An exciting next step in the Amazon shopping experience and I look forward to seeing how it helps customers make better, more informed, shopping decisions.”