Amazon’s greatest advantage is also its greatest disadvantage – at least so far: there are countless products in great variety on the e-commerce platform. Finding the goods you want is not always easy. If the customer knows exactly what the product name is, who makes it and in which version they want it, the purchase is done quickly. Starting with a vague idea becomes more difficult and takes longer. Internet users therefore often find out about visual recommendations from other platforms, in particular Instagram or Pinterest . With the Scout shopping aidAmazon.com integrates these recommendations, but initially only for a limited range of products. For the test phase, Amazon relies on women’s shoes and furnishings such as furniture and lamps with its virtual personal shopper. The German side of Amazon Scout initially only offers furniture, but promises that other categories will follow.
Shopping with images and the intelligence of the machine
Amazon wants to get the problem of those buyers under control to whom one of the two statements applies:
- “I don’t know what I want, but I know when I see it” or
- “I know what I want, but I don’t know exactly what it is called”.
In both cases, it is helpful to approach the target visually. Scout works almost intuitively and is based on the likes known from social media. If the customer is looking for a new sofa for the living room through Scout, they may not yet have a specific idea. Scout shows him in the Sofas and Couches categorythe first pictures, and the leather sofas get a dislike, just like all three-seaters. Delicate sofas with a cozy fabric cover, on the other hand, are rewarded with thumbs up. Scout analyzes this feedback at lightning speed and consequently shows the right sofas. In this way, the customer can work out what he wants to buy comfortably and step by step. It remains to be seen whether and how the algorithms also take into account the further preferences of buyers with regard to the price or the sustainability of production.