Amazon has launched another platform in an attempt to streamline the shopping experience for all its consumers.
What is “Amazon Scout” and how will it help consumers and sellers?
Amazon hasn’t been known as a destination for window shoppers in the past. The online shopping giant has an easy navigation system for those who know exactly what they want, or at least for those with a general idea of what they’re looking for. But what do you do if you just want to sift through products that might be of interest to you, if you knew you wanted to find them?
In response to this issue, Amazon has launched Scout, a platform that consumers can use to “like” and “dislike” products to allow Amazon to tailor products that are in the wheelhouse of the customer directly to them.
“Sometimes you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for until you see it,” said Amazon in a new video about Scout. “Introducing Amazon Scout: a new visual way to shop without words. It’s simple: Like what you love and you’ll see products with the same look and feel. Dislike what you don’t and you’ll see something different, all in real time.”
The service is still in the trial stages, as Amazon will look to improve the platform over time. For now, Scout displays a small array of products such as furniture and clothing options. Amazon wants to make Scout a visual platform, which lends credence to the idea of using household objects primarily at the beginning of its launch.
CNBC notes how Amazon can use Scout to cover up its weaknesses and get a leg up over its competition:
Amazon is using machine learning technology to address one of the perpetual criticisms of the site — that it’s a great place to buy things but a lousy place to browse. While Amazon is by far the largest U.S. e-commerce company, it’s left the door open for e-retailers like Stitch Fix and Bonobos to provide a more personalized experience and given Instagram and Pinterest more room to use their vast amounts of data in turning their social networks into fledgling commerce sites.
Amazon has already taken a chunk of value out of some of its competitors with this announcement. Wayfair shares fell nearly 4 percent following the launch of Scout, according to CNBC.
Amazon has dove all-in on the machine learning industry, and Scout is another example of this idea.
Alexa is Amazon’s most commonly flaunted concept with regards to machine learning. Amazon has made numerous upgrades to the technology and continues to shell out resources to improving its technology, including recent news that Amazon will be pouring more resources into its Alexa scholarship program to help talented young minds learn how to modify the software.
Amazon has used Alexa to help machines cooperate and work alongside human consumers, and the company has endless amounts of data that it can now start to utilize to better the company.
Scout is the natural result of Amazon’s recent trajectory, and is something that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos foretold nearly a year ago when speaking on how machine learning could help the company moving forward:
“It is things like improved search results. Improved product recommendations for customers. Improved forecasting for inventory management. Literally hundreds of other things beneath the surface.”
Where Does Scout Go From Here?
Amazon has yet to do a lot of promotion around the new service, and most people right now are discovering it by accident or by word-of-mouth. As of right now, it appears Scout is almost like Pandora for shopping, which is a kind of experience that hasn’t been seen before on Amazon.
Sellers who distribute the types of products currently on Amazon Scout such as furniture might be pleasantly surprised to see their sales increase as a result of this new service. Amazon is trying to draw customers towards their products that might otherwise not know it was something they wanted.
The hope is that Amazon can take what it learns from the initial launch and apply it to other types of products in the future. If Amazon can use its data to track what types of clothing an athlete likes, maybe it can direct the athlete to products in a similar line. Amazon has always had “because you viewed…” and “inspired by your wish list…” lists of similar products on the home screen of consumers’ Amazon pages, but it appears that the company is looking to expand on that and make browsing an even more enjoyable experience. That’s good news for consumers and sellers alike.
Amazon Scout – Conclusion
Amazon Scout seems like a great way for Amazon to address its biggest weaknesses as a shopping website. Amazon has always been quick to recognize trends in the shopping industry, and this is just another example of the company taking a major step forward. While the inventory on the service is currently limited to just a handful of different kinds of items, Amazon promises that more will be coming soon. Sellers should rejoice at the opportunity to get more eyeballs on their products and more money in their wallets.
Anders will be earning his degree in journalism from Hofstra and has five years of professional journalism experience. He has written for numerous online and print publications including SB Nation and The Hofstra Chronicle.