Alexa, tell me why retailers and brands must care about voice shopping.
Regrettably, Alexa can not answer that question (at least, not yet).
Voice assistants are rapidly becoming a vital cog in millions of American families. Industry experts believe this is a significant chance for manufacturers to capitalize on voice-assisted shopping-- to push ahead to create strategic capabilities around voice, or to perform wait-and-see.
"How many seasons [should pass] before you as a business wake up and say 'we will need to get a [voice] strategy?" Said , a voice specialist and tech consultant.
This should come as no surprise, however, considering Amazon devices receive free advertising on the website, strategic positioning, and a consumer-friendly price point. The company even went so far as giving the Echo Dot a 40-percent discount throughout the holidays, bringing the device's price down to $29.99 (initially $49.99).
The business wrote that "countless Prime members" shopped with Alexa, the implication being that voice is growing, and brands will need to fulfill the requirements of more customers shopping by voice. Having said that, not everyone is as sanguine about the increase of voice-assisted shopping.
"There's certainly lots of excitement and curiosity about those products, but they have also been sold to customers quite actively (and cheaply) instead of being exceptionally actively sought by customers," said Douglas Vandergraph, industry expert and CEO of BargainBrute.com.
Vandergraph argues that brands will need to think more about what their customers want, as opposed to the bells and whistles of innovation for the sake of innovation. "We would do better if we focused on ease and eliminating complexity over supposing voice is the thing to work around."
Voice may not finally replace the shopping mall, but it might change "replenishment purchases," such as paper towels or batteries. Amazon currently has an edge over this area in comparison with new personal assistant devices such as the Google Home, because Alexa understands your purchase history and what kind of brands you like best.
"If you are a brand and at the replenishment category, you are nervous that people will purchase the wrong thing," said Mr. Goldberg, senior vice president of trade and articles at Sapient Razorfish. Or worse yet, Amazon can opt to choose an Amazon Basic battery rather than Duracell for the user.
"Simply participating in a market dilutes their individuality and adds more value to the market owners (Amazon and Google) compared to merchant," said Underwood. Rather, Underwood thinks retailers want their own "voice ecosystem" and that "brands should think about building in voice performance, where appropriate, into their products and/or marketing strategies."
While voice shopping is predicted to rise in 2018, it will not necessarily change the retail landscape. According to Goodwin, it might wind up hurting Amazon. "I actually think voice might wind up decreasing Amazon's profitability because it might reduce average basket size and increase the expense of delivery per item," said Goodwin.
All this thinking is not futile; certain, Amazon already has a head start at the voice trade race, but there is still time for some other brands and retailers to grab--and possibly advantage the company (and Alexa) out.
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