Meet Rufus: Amazon Unveils Its New AI-Powered Shopping Assistant

By Trisha Andrada

Feb 02, 2024 08:52 AM EST

Amazon on Thursday unveiled its new AI-powered shopping assistant, called Rufus, which can answer queries and provide recommendations depending on customer preferences.

Rufus was made available in beta via the Amazon mobile app to a select group of American consumers on Thursday. But in the next few weeks, Amazon intends to gradually roll out Rufus to the remaining consumers in the United States. 

Amazon Holds News Conference
(Photo : David McNew/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - SEPTEMBER 6: The Amazon logo is projected onto a screen at a press conference on September 6, 2012 in Santa Monica, California. Amazon unveiled the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Fire HD in 7 and 8.9-inch sizes.

What Can Amazon AI-Powered Rufus Do?

During Thursday's earnings call, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said: "Rufus lets customers ask shopping journey questions like, 'What is the best golf ball to use for better spin control?' or 'Which are the best cold weather rain jackets?' and get thoughtful explanations for what matters and recommendations on products."

According to Fox Business, Jassy noted that customers can ask Rufus anything, regardless of how connected or unrelated the topic is, and "it retains context coherently." 

"You can sift through our rich product pages by asking Rufus questions on any product features, and it'll return answers quickly," he added.

Jassy said this will help customers browse Amazon's comprehensive product sites faster.

How to Use AI-Powered Rufus of Amazon

In the coming weeks, consumers who are part of the Rufus beta or have access to the Amazon shopping app will be able to use Rufus by speaking or typing their inquiries into the search bar.

A Rufus chat dialog box will appear at the bottom of the screen. Expanding the chat window allows users to see responses to their questions, choose recommended inquiries, and use the dialog box to ask follow-up questions. 

Sliding down the screen sends the conversation box back to the bottom, allowing consumers to ignore Rufus and return to their usual search results.

"We're at the start of what Rufus will do, with further personalization and expansion coming, but we're excited about how it'll make discovery easier on Amazon. It lets customers discover items in a very different way than they have been able to on e-commerce websites," Jassy noted.

READ ALSO: Amazon Rolls Out New Generative AI Tool to Answer Shoppers' Queries in Seconds

AI-Trained Rufus

Rufus learned its skills by studying the Amazon product catalog, reading reviews and community questions and answers, and scouring the web for any relevant information. 

Thanks to his training, Rufus can react to inquiries about a wide range of items and shopping requirements, make relevant comparisons, and provide suggestions depending on the nature of the discussion.

Rajiv Mehta, Amazon VP of search and conversational shopping, and Trishul Chilimbi, VP and distinguished scientist in Amazon stores foundational AI division, said in a post on its website: "From broad research at the start of a shopping journey... to comparisons... to more specific questions... 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." 

READ MORE: Amazon Introduces an AI Chatbot for Businesses Called Q

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