– Amazon has launched a chatbot called Rufus in beta form to a small group of customers in the US
– Rufus is designed to be an expert shopping assistant and is trained on Amazon’s product catalog
– Users can ask Rufus questions about products and get answers based on extensive product information, customer reviews, community Q&As, and web data
– The goal is to provide users with all the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions
– Rufus can answer broad questions like gift recommendations for Valentine’s Day or specific questions about a product’s features
– The availability of Rufus is currently limited to select customers who update their Amazon Shopping app
– Users can find Rufus in the search bar of the app and ask questions or prompt for recommendations
– It is recommended to cross-reference Rufus’s answers with external sources due to the variable quality of Amazon’s reviews and the potential for AI chatbots to provide inaccurate information
– Rufus is expected to have a wider rollout in the US in the coming weeks and could potentially change the way people shop with Amazon.
If there’s one tech innovation that our bank accounts didn’t need in 2024, it’s an Amazon chatbot with infinite knowledge of the site’s array of potential impulse buys. But unfortunately for our savings, that’s exactly what we’ve just been given in the form of Rufus.
Amazon says its Rufus chatbot has now launched in the US in beta form to “a small subset of customers” who use its mobile app, but that it’ll “progressively roll out to additional US customers in the coming weeks”. Rufus is apparently “an expert shopping assistant” who’s been trained on Amazon’s product catalog and will help answer your questions in a conversational way.
Rather than Googling for extra advice on the differences between trail and road running shoes, the idea is that you can instead search for pointers in the Amazon app and Rufus will pop up with the answers.
Quite how good those answers are remains to be seen, as Amazon says they come from “a combination of extensive product catalog, customer reviews, community Q&As, and information from across the web”. Considering the variable quality of Amazon’s reviews, and the tendency of AI chatbots to hallucinate, you may still want to cross-reference your research with some external sources.
Still, it’s an early glimpse at the future of shopping, with retailers looking to arm you with all of the information you need so you can, well, spend more money with them. Amazon says that the questions can be as broad as “what are good gifts for Valentine’s Day?”, but also as specific as “is this cordless drill easy to hold?” if you’re on a product page.
How to find and use Rufus
Right now, Rufus is only being made available to “select customers when they next update their Amazon Shopping app”. But if you live in the US and are keen to take it for a spin, it’s worth updating your iOS or Android app to see if you’re one of the early chosen ones.
If you are, the bar at the top of the app should now say “search or ask a question”. That’s where you can fire conversational questions at Rufus, like “what to consider when buying headphones?”, or prompts like “best dinosaur toys for a 5-year-old“ or “I want to start an indoor garden”.
The ability to ask specific questions about products on their product pages also sounds handy, although this will effectively only be a summary of the page’s Q&As and reviews. Given our experience with AI shopping chatbots so far, we’d be reluctant to take everything at face value without double-checking with another source.
Still, with Rufus getting a wider US rollout in “the coming weeks”, it is a pretty major change to the Amazon app – and could change how we shop with the retail giant. Amazon will no doubt be hoping it convinces us to spend more – maybe we need two chatbots, with the other one warning us about our overdraft.
You might also like
AI Eclipse TLDR:
Amazon has launched a new chatbot called Rufus on its mobile app in the US. Rufus is described as an “expert shopping assistant” and has been trained on Amazon’s product catalog to provide answers to customer questions in a conversational manner. Users can ask a variety of questions, from general gift recommendations to specific product details. Rufus uses a combination of Amazon’s product catalog, customer reviews, community Q&As, and information from across the web to provide answers. However, users are advised to cross-reference the information with external sources due to the variable quality of Amazon’s reviews and the tendency of AI chatbots to provide inaccurate information. Rufus is currently available to a select group of customers who update their Amazon Shopping app, with a wider rollout planned in the coming weeks.