Report says voice commerce is all talk
Shopping via voice assistant has become one of the most discussed trends in the world of retail technology. But recently-released numbers indicate that, at least for now, predictions of the ascendency of Alexa voice commerce could be all talk.
Only about two percent of the 50 million people who own and use Alexa-ready devices have used them to make a purchase in 2018 so far, according to The Information. And of those who did use Alexa to shop, 90 percent did not try it more than once. Far more frequently, voice assistants are being used for simple tasks like playing music and getting weather reports.
Confirmation of a low rate of adoption for voice shopping comes as the two major players in the space, Amazon.com and Google, have been competing to bring retailers and shoppers into their voice shopping ecosystems.
For instance, Amazon recently announced that it is introducing the ability for Alexa users to add Prime Now orders from Whole Foods to their shopping carts, as reported on Venture Beat. Last year, Walmart inked a deal with Google to make hundreds of thousands of items available via Google Assistant.
Since the advent of voice assistants and moves by major tech companies to get people shopping on their platforms, there has been widespread speculation on what a voice-based future may look like.
Some have argued that, in a world where voice assistants are the main facilitators of purchases, the big tech companies will have ultimate control over which CPG staples consumers purchase, requiring many manufacturers to establish direct-to-consumer relationships to survive.
The model of ordering Prime Now products from Whole Foods described by Venture Beat does have the potential to generate this type of brand lock-in. When consumers utter generic terms such as “cheese,” “meat” or “milk”, Alexa picks products based on previous order history and the behavior of other customers. Alexa does ask the customer for confirmation after each item is added to the list nor allow for a review of the full order at checkout.
The model could be even rougher on CPGs if Amazon were to prioritize its private label products as default items.
- The Reality Behind Voice Shopping Hype [Free Signup Required] – The Information
- Amazon brings Whole Foods voice shopping to Alexa – RetailWire
- Will the Walmart/Google voice deal give Amazon’s Alexa a run for its money? – RetailWire
- How disruptive is Alexa to CPG brands? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What would have to change to get people to shop via Alexa and other voice assistants? Will the voice commerce revolution come off as planned? If so, how might it affect CPG brand marketing?