Flash briefing 54 – Surprise, no one buy things via Alexa

The news of the day yesterday was an article by the Information, echoed by Techcrunch “Surprise, no one buy things via Alexa”. According to information very few owners of Alexa devices use them for shopping. Of 50 million, reportedly only 100 000 bought something via voice interface more than once. The article goes on about how Amazon has been trying to push for conversational commerce on this platform and pose the question: Who would just buy something by telling their Echo that they want to? Hardly anyone, according to the publication. The article does highlights Alexa as a good seller of subscriptions as Spotify and Audible (and I will say, Amazon Music). But It ends with a harsh statement, it’s like using a laptop as a hammer. Ouch.

We continue to see this articles questioning whether voice technology is there or not, voice commerce being the latest one. I think that’s normal for this stage in the technology. Let’s try to present what we know until now. First thing, this reports contradicts other studies. According to the smart audio report by NPR and Edison Research released this July, the second thing smart speaker owners request the most is add to my shopping list. Twitter user Derek says it blandly, I don’t use Alexa to order things, I use it to reorder things. But it’s that all?

No, NPR report also concludes that users Top three index activities during the day is Add to shopping list. Other user research has shown a higher percent of users doing purchases via Alexa. One thing is distinguish between plain transactions done through the smart speaker or the whole shopping experience. Are users researching products through Alexa and Google Home? According to several user surveys, yes. Are users adding products to their shopping list and thus, effectively buying this products? Apparently yes, according to NPR.

Assuring that no one wants to buy thing through voice is a wide, full of assumptions statement. I think time will tell, but for now, I’ll keep believing that voice is so young as a medium, its developing and growing, we have a long road ahead. Expect the technology to be there yet (for whatever subject matter you are thinking) is ignore the cycles in which inventions in human machine interface has evolved. And I rather stay away from that.

What do you think? We’ll like to start a debate on the subject, #IsThereYet @voicefirstlabs on Twitter or @voicefirstweekly on Instagram and let us know what you think, about this. Find the show notes at voicefirstweekly.com/


Check the NPR and Edison Research Smart Audio Report here.

Check the Voysis and Voicebot Voice Shopping Consumer Adoption Report 2018

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