TECHNOLOGY

Study: Retailers need to step up customer engagement for voice-enabled devices

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

For all the hype it has received, voice shopping is not being heavily leveraged by retailers — including online giant, Amazon.

That’s according to the “2017 Holiday Retail Analysis: Voice Shopping” report from Ugam, which analyzed Amazon Echo and Google Home Mini voice devices. After heavily promoting its Alexa-enabled devices heading into the holiday season, Amazon featured very few gift promotions for sale by voice, the report found. On Cyber Monday, Amazon offered only one out of its 5,000 holiday deals via voice.

According to data, Alexa deals were more competitive than Google Home. Google Home does not offer an equivalent to Amazon’s “Deal of the Day.” Meanwhile, when searching for Amazon Alexa Deals products on Google Home, it offered exact matches only 30% of the time. Google Home’s prices on those products were higher.

When analyzing the most shopped retailers via Google Home, Walmart and Target topped the list. Further, most of Amazon’s top competitors entered the voice commerce market by making offers via Google Home. Of those companies however, Walmart and Target featured the most matches for Amazon Alexa Deals.

When it comes to retailers most prepared for voice shopping, Best Buy takes the top spot. Further, Best Buy’s Alexa deals were discounted more deeply than Amazon’s.

For example, the average price difference between Best Buy’s Alexa Deals and BestBuy.com was 30%, compared to a 21% difference between Amazon Alexa and Amazon.com. Best Buy also offered more private label products by voice, as well as much more daily deal variety, while Amazon offered the same products throughout the period (November 16-28), the study said.

Despite electronics not being the top category in Amazon Alexa Deals, Philips topped the list of brands prominently featured by both Amazon and Best Buy via Alexa.

Cyber Monday was also the lowest price day for Amazon Alexa Deals, the study said.

“Voice shopping-enabled by devices, like Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini, is the newest consumer touchpoint this holiday season,” said Mihir Kittur, co-founder and chief commercial officer at Ugam.

“However, analysis found that most retailers are still in the very early stages of leveraging this touchpoint,” Kittur said. “With the likelihood of over 25 million devices sold in 2017, voice is an area retailers and manufacturers will need to plan for and execute on.”

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