Date posted

01 Mar 2024

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Amazon introduces AI chatbot, Rufus

Last month, Amazon introduced its AI-powered chatbot called Rufus, which aims to improve customers’ shopping experience on-site.

Named after the first-ever dog brought to work at Amazon’s Seattle warehouse, Rufus is artificially ‘trained on Amazon’s catalogue and information from across the webRufus can answer customer questions, make product comparisons and even recommendations, reducing friction on-site. 

Housed within the existing Amazon experience, Rufus builds on the retailer’s 25 year-long efforts ‘to improve customer experiences’ through AI. Amazon is commencing roll-out for select US users who next update their Shopping app.

Increasing AI adoption in Media

Amazon joining the raft of big players to introduce a chatbot reflects a wider move in the media industry to incorporate AI, fast. And with good reason. Retail bounce-rates can average upwards of 70%; triggering chatbots at the right time can prevent these abandons (or at least help to understand reasons behind them). 

Whether users are in the ‘explorative’ or ‘evaluative’ stage of making a purchase decision, Rufus aims to answer questions, intelligently and in a conversational manner. This is a clear effort to ease the ‘messy middle’ of decision-making that users face, for example when deciding on type of running shoes to go for.

What’s next?

Less than 10% of online stores worldwide currently employ chatbots, but they are expected to represent the primary customer support channel for 25% of all companies by 2027. 

As a leading, global retailer, Amazon’s launch of Rufus shows a strategic decision to further incorporate AI into the purchase journey. With user acceptance of chatbots higher in online retail compared to other industries, this is a tool that major players should be considering. The opportunity to understand blockers for potential purchasers is invaluable. Offering shoppers an improved experience also cements loyalty – important given purchasers are increasingly brand-led, and prone to switching retailers.

However, simply implementing a chatbot isn’t enough. To ensure it positively contributes to the user experience and drives business goals, design and user testing is key. This involves tailoring the chatbot’s functionalities, language, and interactions to seamlessly integrate into the customer journey. Applying a user-centred approach to your chatbot experience is as important as having a user-centred approach to your UX design and optimisation work.

If you are considering implementation, get in touch with our UX team to learn more about the data-driven and user-centred methods you should employ to understand your audience needs and motivations.