Voice shopping is one of the key trends driving e-commerce worldwide. The convenient voice command, hands-free interaction it provides between brands and consumers makes the whole shopping experience dynamic and much quicker.
Today, one third of US population owns a smart speaker and uses a voice assistant. And, 71% of those owners reported to using voice command on their daily activities.
In a study by Adobe Analytics, “The study found the most common voice activities are asking for music (70%) and the weather forecast (64%) via smart speakers. Other popular activities include asking fun questions (53%), online search (47%), checking the news (46%), basic research/confirming info (35%), and asking directions (34%).”
These numbers prove how Amazon’s vision of a society in which voice commands play a vital role in everyday functions is headed in the right direction.
Join us as we unveil the capabilities of voice shopping with a focus on Amazon’s Alexa in this blog post. We’ve briefly covered Alexa in our Playbook as part of The Future of E-commerce: 2019 Biggest Trends, which you can download here. We also have information about how brands are using Alexa in one of our blog posts.
What is Alexa?
“Alexa, where’s my package?” you say.
“Package from Amazon is on the way and will be arriving tomorrow,” Alexa says.
Tomorrow, you receive your package at your door, order fulfilled.
The basic thing you should know about Alexa is that Alexa works using voice control. Your questions are beamed to Amazon cloud computing servers, and in milliseconds, the answers are beamed back to Alexa-powered smart speakers.
Alexa works with all the different versions of the smart speakers, Amazon Echo. Yet, it has gone further than that. Not only is Alexa integrated with Amazon smart speakers like Echo, but Alexa-powered devices are also being launched by Bose, SONY, Huawei, and others. There’s even a voice-activated microwave out there!
There are currently 50 million smart speakers sold in the US and 34% of that is Amazon’s Echo. The number is expected to double in 2020. Since its introduction in the first-ever Amazon Echo device in 2014, Alexa is leading the voice-command revolution.
To date, Alexa is capable of 50,000 skills, basically anything that a voice can command. Alexa’s most popular commands are to do tasks for the home and car such as play music, get the weather forecast, make calls, search online, find deals and offers, and track online purchase delivery status.
Voice shopping is becoming more and more essential for Alexa users to have simple communication with brands through Alexa. Alexa is now compatible with 20,000 devices and is integrated with more than 3,500 brands.
Although many people are using voice commands for various different things, voice shopping still has much to go to fulfill its potential. The full capabilities of voice shopping could be life-changing, but many are still adjusting to the human-machine relationship.
The future of voice shopping looks optimistic, however:
Voice shopping is estimated to be 40 billion in the U.S. by 2020.
U.S.-enabled digital assistants will grow from 69 million to 75.5 million in 2019.
Q4 2018 saw a big jump with regards to Alexa - voice-activated orders placed on Alexa tripled from 2017-2018.
Amazon’s Voice Shopping has now made Alexa available on the Amazon Shopping mobile app. This way, you won’t need a smart speaker for Alexa, you can use your own smart device--your cellphone!
Anyone can incorporate Alexa every step of the way in the purchase journey. They can search for products using Alexa, saying “What are the best deals on mascara?” or other commands. They can check for recommendations and prices, saying “What’s the best selling laptop?” or other commands.
They can add orders in your Amazon cart with a few commands, then get shipping deals with another. Alexa tracks your orders and confirms your delivery date (it can even read to them your order and the product names). Then, when it’s delivered, Alexa will notify them. And lastly, Alexa can reorder for them from your purchase history through setting up Reorder Notifications.
It’s there at every stage of the consumer journey, and it allows consumers to utilize voice-activated shopping again and again.
Alexa-Integration with Brands
Alexa has 3,500 brands integrated with it. This includes Amazon Prime and Amazon affiliate companies such as Whole Foods and All-Recipes.
Shop Whole Foods with Alexa
For example, with the recent acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon has fully integrated Alexa with Whole Foods purchases:
Just ask “Alexa, what are my Whole Foods deals” or “Alexa, how much is milk/cookies/bananas“ for a price check. You’ll get options you can add straight to your Amazon cart (saying “Alexa, add items to my Whole Foods cart”) and have it shipped to you within 2 hours with ultrafast Prime Now delivery.
Or, you can create a shopping list with Alexa, go to the nearest Whole Foods supermarket, and scan a QR code on your phone. Check off items on the Alexa app while you shop.
All-Recipes Alexa Skills
All-Recipes has teamed up with Amazon to provide hands-free access to over 60,000 recipes via Alexa. Alexa can find recipes that match your preferred dishes and ingredients, using just your voice. Alexa can send recipes to your phone so you can buy the ingredients. Once you’ve found a valuable recipe, simply listen to Alexa read it out loud, and viola! You have dinner ready.
Similar brands integrated with Alexa include The Food Network, OurGroceries, Domino’s, and Best Recipes. There are many many more restaurants and food channels, too many to list.
Alexa is best for Prime members, who can take advantage of Prime deals and discounts. Prime members can use Prime Music and Prime Photos with Alexa to showcase on their smart devices.
Amazon Restaurant Skills, exclusively for Prime members, integrates Alexa with affiliated restaurants all over the country. Order from any restaurant, simply by saying “Alexa, order from Amazon restaurants,” and have the order delivered straight to your door.
Most importantly, Prime members can take advantage of ultrafast Prime shipping or two-day Prime shipping for the speediest deliveries.
What does Alexa-integration mean for Amazon sellers?
There are many ways in which Amazon brands can take advantage of Alexa functions for their
This means, when a consumer says, “Alexa, what are the best deals on coffee-makers,” Alexa will include the brands with Amazon Choice Badges that have coffee-makers.
Amazon’s Choice will feature brands that have been good on the following metrics:
See our post, How to Win the Amazon Buy Box, for an explanation on these metrics. They have similar criteria are used by Amazon.
2. Works With Alexa Badge
One of the best marketing strategies and techniques would be to use the “Works with Alexa” badge for your products in order to alert customers that your product is certified by Alexa.
This program allows the manufacturers of brands to integrate Alexa within their products. The guidelines include the Alexa Connect kit and Smart Home APIs.
Your product may also be eligible to be featured in Amazon Smart Home store, once it has a WWA badge.
3. Prime Products
Alexa is known for choosing products that are available via Prime. These can be FBA products or Seller-Fulfilled Prime products with the Prime badge.
The key to being featured on Alexa would be through featuring more prime products with Amazon-certified fulfillment methods.
4. Product Listing and SEO
If we haven’t stressed this before with our previous posts, an optimized product listing, complete with SEO content, is ideal for appearing on Alexa recommendations.
Voice Shopping Commands the Future
The Alexa Effect, as it’s being dubbed now, has encouraged Amazon brand owners, developers, and marketers to learn more about integrating Alexa into their own businesses.
Amazon is looking to up the skills that Alexa has, as well as making it more seamlessly conversational. We’ve talked about this briefly in our Playbook, so this is your chance to download it. We’ll also talk more about this is in our Amazon’s Play for the Future webinar, so feel free to schedule a spot.
If you have any more questions about voice shopping or how to integrate Alexa with your brand, MarketplaceOps can help. We are a team of online marketplaces and e-Commerce experts who have a proven record of helping brands succeed. If you have more questions about our articles or if you simply need help in starting or handling your Amazon business, just reach out to us by sending an email or contacting us.