When you use an Amazon Echo, unless you've established some loyal relationship with a brand, you'll likely ask for the category of product you wish to buy (batteries, razor blades, laundry detergent, etc.). And what does Alexa do? It gives you those products that Amazon has predetermined that you should choose from — and more often than not, it's Amazon Choice and private labels.
Heh. Just think about that for a moment: Amazon Choice. That's exactly what it is: Amazon's choice! Not yours.
When you surrender your products to third party services, you are at their mercy. And with voice, it's sneaking up on us. It may not even be apparent that this is happening, which is what makes it so insidious. We don't have a visual layout of our options any more; with the web, consumers could browse around and find the best deal or product for them. While voice-enabled ordering may save time for consumers, it might be detrimental at the same time, as consumers are more likely to choose whichever recommendation they hear first or second.
So we face some tough decisions ahead: at the very minimum, brands must strive to make the processes and selections with voice-activated services as simple and easy as possible. Less is more. But at the same time, brands need to fundamentally re-think their relationship with customers and with third-party distribution and sales platforms.
Do you really want to be giving up both your data and your sales advantage to a voice-enabled retailer? Maybe we can get a voice vote on that.
Image credit: The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve by William Blake (public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
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