Amazon is launching a new shopping service that steals a page out of Instagram's playbook



Amazon Scout.

  • Amazon has debuted Amazon Scout, a new visual-based shopping page.
  • The page displays pictures of items Amazon sells, which shoppers can then 'like' or 'dislike.'
  • It's currently limited to a few visual-focused categories, like furniture and women's shoes.
  • Visual shopping like this is becoming more prominent, with big players like Instagram about to get in on it.

Amazon has debuted its newest way to shop the site.

Called Amazon Scout, the idea is a hybrid of all visual shopping and discovery. Customers will be given a number of options for products in a few categories, which they can then 'like' or 'dislike' by clicking the thumbs up or down buttons.

The idea is Amazon will get better at serving items to customers that they'll like based on these recommendations. To put it in tech terms, it's using machine learning.

"Amazon uses imagery from across its robust selection to extract thousands of visual attributes for showing customers a variety of items so they can select their preferences as they go," Amazon said in a statement to CNBC.

Amazon says Scout is for people who might not know what they want, or don't know how to put into searchable words. The service is currently being tested on and in the Amazon app. It's not being promoted yet.

The new service is limited in scope currently to some visual-focused categories, like furniture, home goods, and women's shoes. Clothing and handbags are also coming, a spokesperson told CNBC.

The result of all those likes and dislikes?

"A beautiful and inspirational image feed, which gives customers the ability to explore a wide range of products in a playful and personalized manner with just a few clicks," Amazon said in a statement to CNBC.

The experience looks like a visual-based services Instagram and Pinterest, which are fast becoming the top places that inspire online purchases. Facebook is expected to unveil its own Instagram shopping app soon according to a report by the Verge.

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