Voice assistants • 26.09.2017

Shopping with voice command

Voice commerce more than just another customer touchpoint for retailers

Their names are Cortana, Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa: the digital voice assistants of Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Amazon, respectively. They respond to your verbal commands or answer your questions. What’s more, you can also control other smart devices like lamps, stereo equipment or TVs with voice command.

The so-called voice commerce is an intelligent extension of e-commerce. Its pioneer is – not surprisingly – Amazon and its digital voice assistant Alexa. Along with the Alexa app, users need an Echo speaker unit, which is able to communicate with consumers by saying things like:

“Alexa, what’s on my calendar for today?“
“Bello returns from the veterinarian at 6:00 PM today.“
“Alexa, add tennis balls and dog biscuits to my shopping list.“
“I have added tennis balls and dog biscuits to your shopping list […]“

Having said that, voice-activated shopping is not quite as simple as the example would suggest because – after all- there are many different types of tennis balls and dog biscuits available on the market. In this case, Alexa selects your preferences and refers to previously ordered items by its Prime members. Generally, only Prime-designated products can be ordered in this fashion at this juncture. Unspecified products, consulting services or product comparisons are no option.

The system uses the standard default payment and shopping settings. Users can set up a verbal confirmation code via the Alexa app, disable the voice purchasing function as well as review product and order details. Consumers can also cancel an order immediately after they placed it via voice command. There is one drawback though: there is no interface to verify whether the order is correct. Customers get a standard audio and email confirmation, while changes can only be made manually through the app.

Voice commerce is the initiation of an online purchase by using the human voice. With voice commerce, instead of manually typing in search criteria, an interface handles the purchase, processing, and payment of products online.

Amazon opens the door to third-party providers with Alexa Skills

Using the Alexa app, Prime members can choose from different “Skills”, similar to smartphone apps. This allows third-party developers to provide extensions to the system. Thanks to the Alexa voice service, they can integrate the technology into their own products via open programming interfaces. Currently, 19 skills are available in the “Shopping“ section for Germany.

real,- already uses this type of Skill to provide information about product choices, the latest news, recipes and personal messages from the local Real supermarket. All information is provided by the Real website. Right now there are six available voice commands that will be continuously improved. In doing so, Real seeks to further expand the merger between brick-and-mortar and online retail. At this point, consumers cannot place voice-controlled orders.

Meanwhile, AllyouneedFresh, the online supermarket of the Deutsche Post DHL Group, already delivers groceries on voice command. One drawback: to trigger the actual purchase, in a second step, users have to navigate to the AllyouneedFresh online supermarket after selecting the merchandise. Here they can review the shopping list, make any necessary changes and place the items in the shopping cart and purchase them.

Actually, right now, only Amazon makes an order process using a voice command available to users.

However, Skills cannot be set as defaults and have to always be reopened using voice command.

Google and Walmart collaborate to offer voice shopping

Meanwhile, Google is now also entering the battle for voice commerce supremacy in the U.S. Since September, hundreds of thousands of various Walmart items have been available through Google Assistant. The company clearly positions its Google Home against Amazon. Initially, the items are delivered by Google’s delivery service, though later Walmart will take over. Starting next year, the company intends to expand the product selection to also include fresh foods. In addition, customers will also have the option to pick up their order in person at one of the more than 4,700 Walmart stores in the U.S. and possibly at a price reduction.

Google’s smart speaker has also been available in Germany since mid-year but cannot be used for shopping yet.

Photo: Shopping with voice command
Source: Walmart

Voice Commerce only for avid online shoppers?

At least when it comes to Germany, the answer to this question is currently “yes”. Accenture’s “Dynamic Digital Consumers“ study confirms this. According to a YouGov survey, almost half of all Germans occasionally use the voice command on their mobile devices but they remain skeptical when it comes to personal assistants. One major hurdle to cross is data protection uncertainty. After all, the more customers integrate personal assistants into their daily lives, the more the system is able to collect data about them and their habits, assess it and subsequently make perfect suggestions for any situation and mood based on the analysis.

What some are touting the “creation of a new ecosystem“, others consider a massive intrusion into privacy matters. “At the moment, users insist on going shopping by themselves to underscore their autonomy,“ says Nicole Hanisch, retail market research expert and managing director of the rheingold Institute.

That’s also why the Retail Report 2017 sees the greatest benefit of voice assistants in customer services in the future. Their use here is primarily conceivable in the realm of chatbots in customer communication. Based on current estimates, voice assistants could take care of up to 60 percent of customer communication transactions. After all, customers often ask similar or recurring questions. The report adds that the evolution of human-machine communication brings back the significance of the spoken word in interpersonal interaction. That’s why in the long run, retailers have to decide whether they also want to facilitate voice ordering options for products and services.

Rumor has it that Amazon is presently working on smart glasses to create access to Alexa anywhere, anytime. It is also said to be working on a security camera for Amazon Echo.

Author: Melanie Günther, iXtenso

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: New year brings new regulations
13.09.2019   #data management #receipt printer

New year brings new regulations

What are the big changes for German point of sales systems come 2020?

Big changes are coming to Germany’s point of sale systems starting January 1, 2020. Two terms that are tossed around in this connection are "Belegausgabepflicht" (Receipt Provision Ordinance) and ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Mobile payments at the supermarket checkout
05.08.2019   #mobile payment #smartphone

Mobile payments at the supermarket checkout

An early adopter’s experience of mobile payments

Or: "What’s that you’re doing with your watch?“I still remember the first time I used mobile payment technology and paid for items with my smartphone at a supermarket checkout: It was October 17, 2018, exactly seven days after ...

Thumbnail-Photo: drs//POS – The POS system for many check-out situations...
13.09.2019   #pos systems #cashpoints

drs//POS – The POS system for many check-out situations

With the POS system developed by Superdata you are put in the picture

The POS acts as an ear in the store. It affects how timely, and with what information, decision makers at the head office are in a position to assess developments in the store and are able to respond appropriately to the situation.With our POS ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Retail Asia Conference & Expo (RACE)
07.10.2019   #online trading #retail

Retail Asia Conference & Expo (RACE)

As the leading retail exhibition in Asia, RACE is taken place from 6 – 8 May 2020.

As the leading retail exhibition in Asia, RACE is recognised as the must-join event among the industry’s most influential retailers and customers. RACE features three focus areas: Retail technology, retail design & in-store marketing ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Smart meters: Be proactive and reap the benefits...
12.08.2019   #energy optimization #electrical installation

Smart meters: Be proactive and reap the benefits

The Metering Point Operation Act calls for smart meter rollout

The black and analog electric meter box has become obsolete: The mandatory smart meter rollout will commence in a few months. What does the installation of digital, smart electric meters mean for retailers and chain stores? ...

Thumbnail-Photo: The iXtenso editors tested self-scanning ......
30.09.2019   #mobile payment #self-checkout systems

The iXtenso editors tested self-scanning ...

... with an app of the Hobbymarkt Knauber in Bonn, Germany

Snabble has developed a payment app that allows customers to scan their purchases in retail stores and pay online. I wondered: How does it work?The app is in use in the Bonn DIY and hobby market Knauber, among other places. Let’s make a move ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Making Deeper Connections at ISE 2020
21.11.2019   #digital signage #video

Making Deeper Connections at ISE 2020

Visitor registration opens; exciting new features; most conferences ever; opening address confirmed

Visitor registration opens today for ISE 2020, which is set to be the most compelling Integrated Systems Europe show ever. Taking place at the RAI Amsterdam on 11-14 February 2020, ISE is the world’s leading event for the professional systems ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Nominate your company for the E-commerce Germany Awards 2020!...
21.11.2019   #online trading #e-commerce

Nominate your company for the E-commerce Germany Awards 2020!

Award ceremony as part of E-Commerce Berlin Expo

The E-commerce Germany Awards are officially accepting submissions as of the 4th  November, 2019. Companies within the e-commerce sector are able to apply to one of the ten categories. The annual awards are given out for the third time in ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Enhanced, interactive, virtual – It’s all about the experience!...
21.11.2019   #online trading #customer satisfaction

Enhanced, interactive, virtual – It’s all about the experience!

AR and VR can boost online and offline retail

New technologies permeate all aspects of the retail business, whether it’s self-checkouts, AI or robotics. Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) are yet other components in this setting. In this interview with iXtenso, Kelly Goetsch, ...

Thumbnail-Photo: POS in the cloud: the networked checkout
13.09.2019   #epos software #digitization

POS in the cloud: the networked checkout

On the possibilities for a cloud-based point-of-sale-system

Everyone is talking about smart industry-specific cloud solutions. The cloud also offers the retail sector fresh possibilities for its day-to-day operations. So, it's no surprise that more and more companies are installing point-of-sale software ...

Supplier

Permaplay Media Solutions GmbH
Permaplay Media Solutions GmbH
Aschmattstr. 8
76532 Baden-Baden
APG Cash Drawer
APG Cash Drawer
4 The Drove
BN9 0LA Newhaven
iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
Celsiusstraße 43
53125 Bonn
Superdata GmbH
Superdata GmbH
Ruhrstr. 90
22761 Hamburg
Delfi Technologies GmbH
Delfi Technologies GmbH
Landgraben 75
24232 Schönkirchen