Amazon’s Project Nile: Everything you need to know in 2 mins

Written by The RI Team | Read Time: 2 mins

What’s in a codename? Some like Operation Desert Storm are self-explanatory. Others such as the Manhattan Project are more opaque. So what should we make of Project Nile, Amazon’s secret AI plan to change how the world buys and sells?

Given the Nile is the only river in the world longer than the Amazon, perhaps it’s a sign of the project’s long-term impact? Or perhaps it’s just a name? Either way, here’s everything you need to know in two mins. 


What is Project Nile?

Project Nile is the codename for Amazon’s plan to create a new AI-based search function on its marketplace. Led by former Microsoft AI exec and new Amazon VP Joseph Sirosh, the project will supposedly integrate the nuanced expertise of an in-store assistant within Amazon's search using generative AI, delivering a tailored shopping experience for every buyer. The features have yet to be announced, but are expected to include instant product comparison, summarised reviews, recommendations based on buying history and the ability to ask a ‘chatbot’ in a more conversational style, so shoppers can find what they’re looking for more easily. 


When will Project Nile launch?

The educated guess is 2024. Based on the leaks and murmurings so far this year, and the fact that Amazon CEO Andy Jassey considers Project Nile a top priority, we’d expect a roll-out next year. Given Amazon’s AI arms race with other tech giants like Microsoft and Google, some online commentators are saying Project Nile could launch as early as January. 


Why is Amazon implementing Project Nile? 

For Amazon, Project Nile is a long-term upgrade to its customer experience - further differentiating itself from other ecommerce sites - and helps cement the idea of Amazon as a market leader in AI innovation. But Amazon is also keen to take advantage of the mobile shopping era. Mobile accounts for 80% of Amazon searches, but conversion rates on mobile are lower than desktop. Having an AI assistant that you could ask for support conversationally (i.e. imagine asking an Alexa-style assistant to find a black coat with sequins under $50 made of organic cotton) is expected to send conversion rates northwards. 


How does Amazon’s Project Nile impact sellers? 

For brands, a more personalised shopping experience, better qualified search results (i.e. your products in front of the right buyers) and higher expected mobile conversions are obviously major benefits, but Project Nile is also expected to cause major disruption to current advertising and listing approaches. 

When full details are released, brands will have to review all product descriptions, photos and long-tail keywords to ensure they are taking advantage of the new AI-based opportunities. Sellers will also need to look at their marketing approaches with AI-powered advertising strategies likely to differ from the current cost per click model (there may not even be ‘clicks’). 

What’s more, Project Nile is expected to generate vast amounts of new data on customer preferences and buying habits, including what terms they use for products, so brands will have to constantly monitor changes to stay ahead. 


Stay tuned with Rich Insight

Right now, Project Nile’s final appearance is mostly speculation - just like guessing the reason for its codename. But at Rich Insight, we’ll be closely monitoring developments, so stay tuned for more information and check out our blog on How AI chatbots will help you improve marketplace sales. 

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