Amazon’s Dash Wand shows how AI can help the retail industry

Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market is one major way that the e-commerce giant is engaging the retail industry. With a wildly popular grocery market now under their belts, Amazon can change the standard of online grocery. Amazon’s goal, reports MarketWatch, is to combine their convenience with Whole Food’s quality products.

Amazon also recently launched its Dash Wand, a dongle-like object that is making it easier than ever for shoppers to order their favorite things via the online retailer.

The wand, boosted with Amazon’s artificial intelligence assistant Alexa, lets you order products by issuing voice commands or scanning a product’s bar codes. The small wand fits in your hand, and reacts to vocal orders like “Order paper towels,” writes VentureBeat.

The Dash Wand is available to customers for only $20, a low price for the inclusion of aspects of the Alexa assistant. In 2015, Amazon released their first version of this wand called Amazon Dash, which was bigger, more expensive, and didn’t include AI. Now, the online retailer wants to make shopping easier, more fun, and much more accessible for everyone.

Much like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality are other forums that retailers are taking advantage of. Sue Tabbitt writes that London-based startup GoInStore connects remote shoppers to in-store salespeople who can speak and engage with them. This startup claims to turn a 2 percent online conversion rate into 20 percent, based on better experience and advice.

It would seem that retailers are aiming to make shopper’s time more valuable, using technology to maximize the chances of a positive retail experience. Chief Retail Strategist for Shoptalk Sucharita Mulpuru writes that physical stores are also adopting new tech—many are using item-level RFID technology to track goods. Certain Internet of Things solutions are also being utilized to make sure in-person shoppers can have the best store walkthrough, seeing the products best suited for them.