Amazon’s new AI chatbot wants to be your personal shopper for impulse buys

Two phones on a green background showing Amazon's Rufus AI chatbot
(Image credit: Amazon)

If there's one tech innovation that our bank accounts didn't need in 2024, it's an Amazon chatbot with infinite knowledge of the site's array of potential impulse buys. But unfortunately for our savings, that's exactly what we've just been given in the form of Rufus.

Amazon says its Rufus chatbot has now launched in the US in beta form to "a small subset of customers" who use its mobile app, but that it'll "progressively roll out to additional US customers in the coming weeks". Rufus is apparently "an expert shopping assistant" who's been trained on Amazon's product catalog and will help answer your questions in a conversational way.

Rather than Googling for extra advice on the differences between trail and road running shoes, the idea is that you can instead search for pointers in the Amazon app and Rufus will pop up with the answers. 

Quite how good those answers are remains to be seen, as Amazon says they come from "a combination of extensive product catalog, customer reviews, community Q&As, and information from across the web". Considering the variable quality of Amazon's reviews, and the tendency of AI chatbots to hallucinate, you may still want to cross-reference your research with some external sources. 

Still, it's an early glimpse at the future of shopping, with retailers looking to arm you with all of the information you need so you can, well, spend more money with them. Amazon says that the questions can be as broad as "what are good gifts for Valentine’s Day?", but also as specific as “is this cordless drill easy to hold?" if you're on a product page.

How to find and use Rufus

Right now, Rufus is only being made available to "select customers when they next update their Amazon Shopping app". But if you live in the US and are keen to take it for a spin, it's worth updating your iOS or Android app to see if you're one of the early chosen ones.

If you are, the bar at the top of the app should now say "search or ask a question". That's where you can fire conversational questions at Rufus, like “what to consider when buying headphones?”, or prompts like “best dinosaur toys for a 5-year-old“ or "I want to start an indoor garden".

The ability to ask specific questions about products on their product pages also sounds handy, although this will effectively only be a summary of the page's Q&As and reviews. Given our experience with AI shopping chatbots so far, we'd be reluctant to take everything at face value without double-checking with another source.

Still, with Rufus getting a wider US rollout in "the coming weeks", it is a pretty major change to the Amazon app – and could change how we shop with the retail giant. Amazon will no doubt be hoping it convinces us to spend more – maybe we need two chatbots, with the other one warning us about our overdraft.

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Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.