Amazon's new Part Finder illustrates AI's growing role in e-commerce, inventory

Amazon is implementing a new feature that utilizes computer vision to help users identify parts to better their inventory process.

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Amazon's new feature on mobile could save SMBs, contractors, and mechanics a lot of headaches when it comes to finding and ordering the right part. If you're unable to identify a screw, bolt, or the like, Amazon Part Finder allows you to point your camera at the piece to scan and measure it, before pointing you in the direction of products that match.

Amazon confirmed to TechCrunch that the new Part Finder feature wasn't formally announced but was rolled out to iOS users several weeks ago.

SEE: Digital transformation in retail: How consumers are using tech to make shopping easier and more enjoyable (Tech Pro Research)

The feature shouldn't be confused with similar augmented reality (AR) features iOS is set to offer through its ARKit. Part Finder will utilize computer vision technology, according to the TechCrunch report.

This technology, according to the report, was originally developed by Partpic, a company Amazon bought in 2016.

The report noted that the feature currently can identify over 100 types of fasteners, representing thousands--if not millions--of parts.

Users can access the feature on the Amazon app by tapping on a camera icon next to the search box. From there, the app will guide users through the process of measuring the part.

Users place the object on a white background next to a penny. Once it has been measured, users are prompted to answer more questions about the physical description of the object, to better identify the piece, as noted in the report.

This feature can prove beneficial to smaller contractors, mechanics, and SMBs who may not have a wider and more organized inventory system, or that may need to use Amazon for small-scale ordering. Part Finder also illustrates how artificial intelligence (AI) tools like computer vision, and technologies like AR, will further change the retail experience for consumers and enterprises alike.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • SMBs can better their inventory systems by utilizing Amazon's new Part Finder feature to quickly identify and order the parts they need.
  • Amazon implementation of computer vision can shows how retail and inventory systems will embrace technologies such as AR and AI.

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Image: Sean Buckley/CNET