If one is using their Echo to stream their free Pandora account, they are used to some radio-style ads already. However, as an Echo user myself, if I am going to be pitched to via my interactive assistant, I want the products to be extremely relevant to me. And I don't mean me as a 30-something WOHM. I mean me, Jen Johnston, with all my quirks.
Surely there is big data out there about the products I want to learn about -- clothes, toys and household goods with natural materials (wool, stainless steel, wood, etc.) and better-for-you brands (cleaners, foods, and personal care), for example. Yet I don't feel Amazon has cracked that code yet with me, based on the Recommended Products which are often plastic materials and mainstream brands.
Perhaps Amazon Echo could turn advertising into some sort of retail discovery game where the consumer is in control instead of being forced to listen to ads they don't find relevant. Or maybe they could let me set up a profile with the types of products I want to know about and let me opt in to hearing ads about them.
Since we are imagining new ideas -- I think these retailer brands could come together around the concept of minimalism. IKEA already appeals to minimalists -- basic Scandinavian furniture with a clean, modular design. Kohl's could easily appeal to minimalists too by concocting seasonal capsule wardrobes that make it easy for a Millennial to plan their next Project 333. (That’s a minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for three months.) The irony of retailers appealing to minimalists (who typically reject an abundance of “things”) hasn’t escaped me, however I think it can be done via a specific section of the store, or perhaps a new store all together.