AI isn’t located in a single office at Amazon, and information is spread throughout departments.
AI plays a huge role in Amazon’s recommendation engine, generating 35% of the company’s revenue. Using data from individual customer preferences and purchases, browsing history, and items that are related and regularly bought together, Amazon can create a personalized list of products that customers want to buy.
Machine learning technology is used by the product recommendation team to improve its product forecasts, and those insights are shared throughout the company. AI and machine learning powers three popular Amazon products: Alexa, the Amazon Go Store, and the Amazon recommendation engine.
Amazon Alexa, also known simply as Alexa, is a virtual assistant AI technology developed by Amazon. Data and machine learning is the foundation of Alexa’s power, and it’s only getting more reliable as its popularity and the amount of data it gathers increase. Every time Alexa makes a mistake in interpreting your request, it is used to make the system smarter the next time. Machine learning is the reason for the rapid improvement in the capabilities of a voice-activated user interface.
The Amazon Echo is a brand of smart speakers developed by Amazon, which features AI bot Alexa. Echo devices connect to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service Alexa, has been one of the company’s most popular forays into machine learning. Amazon faced an uphill battle initially, especially as it was one of the first companies to try its hand at creating a voice-powered virtual assistant that could fit on a countertop. Once the technology started to come together, divisions across the company realized that Alexa could benefit their products. Some of Alexa’s skills were integrations with Amazon Music, Prime Video, and personalized product recommendations from an Amazon account.
In the Amazon Go Stores, customers enter the store using the Amazon Go app to browse and take the products they want and then leave. The store is partially-automated, with customers being able to purchase products without using a cashier or checkout station. The cashier-less Amazon Go store also took advantage of the wealth of data to track customer shopping trends. Data from customers’ smartphone cameras track shopping activities and not only help Amazon Go but can also be shared with the machine learning team.
The latest 4 AI-driven company operations and platform features
1. AI optimization in the fulfillment center
There are 1 to 4 million bins per fulfillment center (warehouse) and on the order of 10 million items. In every fulfillment center, computer vision systems analyze images to help Amazon staff keep track of everything.
Based on data, AI solves a significant combinatorial optimization problem and decides which orders to pick while getting them in the same box. This way, the system minimizes the distance the transport pods have to travel.
AI optimization makes these decisions in real-time and with information that is continuously changing.
2. Machine learning for Amazon’s product graph
Amazon based its product graph on machine learning, allowing it to describe every item using the product and non-product concepts. The system also forms links between different entities, solving actual customer needs. People don’t just come to Amazon to buy products. They visit Amazon to see what’s new or exciting or discover ways to simplify and enrich their lives.
3. StyleSnap – AI-powered fashion discovery
StyleSnap is the latest Amazon AI-powered feature which supports fashion-focused shoppers.
The shopper takes a photograph or screenshot of a look that they like, uploads it in the app, and StyleSnap presents them with recommendations for similar items on Amazon that match the photo’s look. StyleSnap also considers a variety of factors such as brand, price range, and customer reviews.
4. Alexa is helping the blind with its latest feature, Show and Tell
The high-tech retail store by Amazon that surfaced last year opened up newer avenues for the customers, where they could swipe their smartphones, pick the items they want and check out without waiting in long queues. Amazon Go, the first-ever convenience store by the tech giant, extensively uses computer vision and deep learning algorithms to enable shoppers to experience a user-friendly experience. With a range of products, from ready-to-eat food to grocery essentials, the entire store can be accessed with an account on Amazon and Amazon Go app that can be easily installed. The trial, which was earlier open only for Amazon employees, has been opened for the general public from this January.
With ambitious plans to open 20,000+ stores in the coming days, Amazon Go is the combination of artificial intelligence, computer vision, and data pulled from multiple sensors that ensure customers have a hassle-free experience.
As a customer-centric business, Amazon listens to customer feedback. The blind and visually impaired make up one category of Alexa devices customers. Amazon researchers have provided the smart speaker with a new feature designed to cater to the blind and visually impaired needs called Show and Tell.
Show and Tell allows the blind people to identify grocery items by holding each item to the Echo Show camera and ask, “Alexa, what am I holding?”. The smart speaker identifies the item through advanced computer vision and machine learning technologies for object recognition.
The eCommerce industry is witnessing a redefined form that takes customers to a new level of experience and gratification. Artificial intelligence enables a business to understand its customers better and do so more quickly.