Strategies & Tactics

In Brief: Shopping Traditions; Trademarked Products

April 2, 2018

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[zapp2photo]

How Amazon’s Alexa Is Disrupting Shopping Traditions

Voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa may make buying more convenient and less stressful, but they also remove an essential dimension of the consumer experience: having choices.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that when shoppers search for items with Alexa, they’re often steered to a single product. This is due to Alexa’s algorithm, which applies a machine-learning model to identify what matters most to customers. More than half the time, it selects the “Amazon’s Choice” product — a highly rated, well-priced item that ships with Prime, according to the Journal.

With consulting firm Capgemini forecasting that purchasing habits will continue to trend away from retail stores and individual websites — they predict that voice assistant users will spend 18 percent of their total expenses via these assistants in the next three years — it’s now imperative for brands to figure out how to get Alexa to recommend their products. 

“Of all the disruptions that are taking place in all the things technology is bringing into our space, voice is among the most disruptive,” says Graeme Pitkethly, chief financial officer of Unilever PLC.

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