Back in September, Amazon launched Scout, a furniture and home decor recommendations tool. The tool, located at amazon.com/scout, prompts visitors to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” various suggested items from the furniture, home decor, lighting, kitchen, patio, bedding, and women’s shoes categories. As a customer rates items, less desirable items are removed and new items replace them. Customers can later pick up where they left off on their rating “journeys.”
Now, we’re seeing the Scout tool being integrated directly into select furniture product pages. Here’s how it looks:
The module is not labeled “Scout” (or anything else) — it’s simply titled with the instructions, “Like or dislike for instant recommendations.” It’s located between the “Sponsored products related to this item” and “Customers who viewed this item also viewed” modules. It behaves just like the widgets do on the Scout home page – as the customer rates items, new items dynamically replace less desirable ones.
Embedding a discovery mechanism like Scout deeply below the fold on product detail pages is an interesting decision by Amazon, but one we assume was thoroughly tested. It’s an opportunity for a potential customer to leave the product detail page they’re on, but also a new opportunity for product discovery. The concept makes sense for highly visual product categories like furniture and home decor.
Amazon is likely investing in new machine learning services to improve its personalization and recommendation algorithms. We believe automated personalization is an area in which Amazon can improve significantly through further R&D. Another opportunity for Amazon amongst certain customer segments would be human personalization, a la StitchFix. Amazon has not invested heavily in this area, but has created a little-known tool called Outfit Compare, in which customers can upload photos of themselves and get an Amazon staffer’s opinion of which looks better.