STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 12

2018 SUNDAY

12

How Will Retailers Follow Amazon's Lead into
Conversational Commerce?

T

he idea of speaking a command
and having a device respond would
have been comedy gold just a few
years ago. In fact, trying to navigate out
of a phone tree - "say or press one" -
has been the basis of any number of TV
episodes.
But these days, automated customer
service and shopping is much more likely
to involve a device. That's why the 2017
holiday season included more automated
assistance, through voicebots, chatbots
and voice-assisted purchasing.
According to the Walker Sands 2017
"Future of Retail" report, 24 percent of
consumers owned a voice-controlled
device at the time of the study; another
20 percent planned to purchase one in the
next year. One in five had made a voice
purchase through Amazon Echo or another
digital home assistant, and another 33
percent planned to do so in the next year.
Echo and Google Home are the driving forces behind voice-assisted shopping;
nowhere was that more evident than during Prime Day 2017, when the top seller
was Echo Dot, a device that houses Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa. There were
also specials and discounts available only

through Alexa.
It's all part of an overall strategy to
foster more voice-assisted purchases, says
Luke Starbuck, vice president of marketing for Linc Global, which offers systems
for conversational platforms like Facebook Messenger chat and Amazon Alexa.
"Not only are they trying to drive
people to have the devices in their homes,
by selling the devices at a discount through
Whole Foods, for example, but trying to
help people form the habit of purchasing
through the devices," Starbuck says.
"How that plays into Holiday 2017
is interesting. [In Holiday 2016] the Echo
outsold the Kindle, which is a significant
change in gift purchasing behavior and
what we're likely to see in years to come."
Google Home recently aligned with
Walmart to offer voice-assisted shopping.
Customers can use Google's Assistant on
the Home device or through the Google
Express shopping website; Walmart shoppers can link past purchases to Google.

Raising the bar

Amazon and Google aren't the only
players in the game. Some brands are starting to experiment with voicebots for tasks

These days, automated customer service and shopping is more likely to involve a device.

like checking order status and handling
routine questions. That's where the ease
that comes with voice can provide a robust
customer experience, Starbuck says.
Holiday 2017, he predicted earlier in
the year, would be "one of the first times
where large groups of consumers are
checking order status that way," he says.

"With so many households with the devices, when it's top of mind, when they're
wondering where an order is, they'll ask
the question. Holiday tends to be a time
when people make more purchases than
usual, and when the purchase anxiety is
See "Conversational" on page 14

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898196_CPI.indd 1

15/12/17 05:57



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1

STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 1
STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 2
STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 3
STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 4
STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 5
STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 6
STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 7
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STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 12
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STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 30
STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 31
STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 32
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