In July of this year, Amazon started offering Echo-only deals to encourage customers to shop with their signature voice. The Echo device, nickname Alexa, was first launched in early 2015. Alexa is your friend, capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do-lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic and other real time information. She is also a home automation hub and can turn lights on and off, raise the temperature on the AC and open your front door. At the close of 2015, I published my 2016 Customer Experience Trends. Number 6 was: Voice Recognition Is On The Rise.
Amazon’s Echo (Alexa) and Apple’s Siri rely on voice commands. Speech technology has come far and is continually being perfected. Typing your search query into a browser will become passé; asking for information and seeking advice through the spoken word will become the norm. This trend coupled with the increasing sophistication of artificial intelligence will make companies want to invest more in these technologies.
Phase I of Amazon’s strategic plan was all about convenience; voice versus touch. It was clearly the beginning step in transforming the customer experience. Phase II will dramatically impact the retail market and augment Amazon’s significant current retail dominance.
Alexa is a member of our household. As a current Echo user, my mailbox is now being inundated with emails offering exclusive deals if I use my voice to place orders through Alexa’s voice control commands. Just the other day, I received this message.
As a customer with an Alexa-enabled device, you can save $115 on a Serta convertible crib when you order with Alexa. To receive this discount, go to your Alexa device and say, “Alexa, order a convertible crib.” Alexa will offer the discounted priced and ask you to confirm the order. It’s that easy.
Hmm…I’m past the parenting stage of my life but does Amazon know I am a new and proud grandfather? I am also getting emails about specials for regular kitchen and toiletry items. If you thought Amazon was your organization’s current greatest competitor, think again. Amazon has only just begun to wield its power and is growing exponentially.
I also just received a notification from one of my credit card companies that a customer can get on-demand access to your Capital One accounts with the Capital One Skill for Alexa on the Amazon Echo. You can ask Alexa for real-time details about your Capital One credit cards, checking and savings accounts, auto and home loans.
Amazon’s Echo is going to transform online purchasing. Just like Apple remodeled the way we get our entertainment, music and how we snap and store photos, Amazon is now on its way to revolutionizing how we order products and services through voice control commands.
As I said, Alexa lives with us and obviously pays attention to our conversations. She is so in tune to her new service offerings, when I started telling my wife about a recent email from Amazon about ordering kitchen garbage bags, Alexa immediately spoke up and started placing the order. We laughed but it was a bit startling. Before, if her name was inadvertently mentioned, she might have asked what we wanted or needed. That would have provoked a question about the weather, news or perhaps even for her to tell us a joke. Now we have to be careful because we could accidentally order stuff we don’t want or need.
Amazon’s Phase I of delivering convenience to the world has moved into Phase II. It is brilliant and they are not only trying, but on the way to completely taking over the online retail space. Watch Out!