CSE498, Collaborative Design, Fall 2015
Computer Science and Engineering
Michigan State University

Amazon, one of the world’s largest online retailers, sells hundreds of millions of different products. Of these online sales, many are fulfilled by third-party sellers.

Amazon’s Seller Forums is a web resource for third-party sellers to post questions about selling on Amazon. Our Seller Forums Echo Companion provides these sellers with a hands-free way to interact with the Seller Forums.

The Amazon Echo is a tower speaker providing voice assistance through the cloud-based Alexa intelligent assistant. Amazon sellers use our Echo Companion to ask Alexa about the questions and answers posted in the forums.

For example, a seller asks “Alexa, are there any replies to my question about shipping?” Alexa answers “There are three new replies to your question.” The seller then responds “Read the most helpful reply to me.”

Our Echo Companion is based on Alexa “skills,” which are comprised of language constructs called intents for which Alexa listens and performs subsequent actions. Alexa uses its natural language processing in combination with the Seller Forums database to accomplish a seller’s desired task.

Alexa’s actions include many common Amazon Seller Forums tasks such as posting questions, reading questions, editing account settings and receiving notifications.

Our Seller Forums Echo Companion is coded in Java. AWS Lambda, an Amazon cloud service, stores and runs the Java. A MySQL database hosted by Amazon Web Services contains the content of the Seller Forums.