CSE498, Collaborative Design, Fall 2016
Computer Science and Engineering
Michigan State University

Amazon is the largest e-commerce company in the world, accounting for 1 in 3 shopping transactions in North America.

The number of active users on messaging platforms reached 3 billion in 2015. Asa is a shopping assistant chatbot who allows Amazon to access this market. She helps users discover and purchase items through conversations on Facebook Messenger.

Asa’s core functionality enables users to search for items and ask for product recommendations.

For example, if a user says, “I’m looking for Animal Farm by George Orwell,” Asa replies with a collection of Amazon listings for the book Animal Farm along with purchase links.

Through these conversations, Asa learns about each user and tailors future product recommendations based on what she learns. If a user asks, “Can you recommend a good book?” Asa sends a list of books based on that user’s past purchases.

Users can also ask Asa to remind them to do something, such as buying a gift for their mother or purchasing textbooks before the start of the semester.

To learn how to shop with Asa, users can ask her for help at any time. Asa responds with an instructional message that gives examples of ways to chat with Asa, including examples of how to ask Asa questions.

Asa is written in JavaScript and hosted on AWS Lambda. Asa uses Wit.ai for natural language processing and AWS DynamoDB for persisted data storage.