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SCOUT is Amazon’s new visual shopping tool powered by machine learning

amazon debuts scout shopping tool

Amazon experiments with a new tool, called SCOUT, providing shoppers a visually pleasing experience while shopping. The basic idea is to help shoppers with product recommendations customized to your particular tastes.

SCOUT offers a Pinterest-like product browsing experience by using a combination of imagery, voting mechanisms, and machine-learning algorithms. It then refines the products based on the ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ of the shopper. “This is a new way to shop, allowing customers to browse millions of items and quickly refine the selection based solely on visual attributes… it gives customers the ability to explore a wide range of products in a playful and personalized manner with just a few clicks,” an Amazon spokesperson said.

Amazon.com today houses millions of products and hundreds of thousands of them in each category. And hence it is not easy to browse for a product you ‘barely’ know. SCOUT should help overcome this biggest disadvantage! SCOUT currently sorts products based on style; however, Amazon may also add more modifiers such as price, in the future.

The SCOUT Style Explorer, as of now, only offers recommendations for home furniture, kitchen and dining products, women's shoes, patio furniture, lighting, and bedding. But soon, it will be expanded to include more items.

This move by Amazon is perfectly timed and is likely to bring back consumers switching to sites like Instagram, Pinterest for shopping. And the good news is that a few products in Amazon.com links to “Scout Style Explorer” already.

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