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Is The Future Of Shopping Voice?

Is The Future Of Shopping Voice?

Is the future of shopping voice? 

A couple of years ago when a friend mentioned to me ‘do you know you can ask your phone about the weather and it will speak to you?’ I laughed in his face! Why would anyone want or need that? Would it work? It brought me back to the early days of AI when I used to laugh at ‘Smarter Child’ on MSN messenger!

Fast forward a few years and voice search is literally taking over. According to many reports, by 2020 over 50% of searches will be through voice. Now, it seems, many FMCG brands are beginning to take note and seriously consider the impact voice search will have on their brands and products. Is it the best thing since sliced bread or is it literally ‘all talk’?

Is it the end of the ‘weekly shop’?

Be honest…how many of us still do the weekly shop? Convenience plays a huge part in everyday life and, for me, it’s just not convenient to go spend an hour in the supermarket every week. My shopping pattern has definitely evolved to ‘grabbing a few bits every night on the way home from work’ and I’m hopeful it will gradually progress to me never having to enter a ridiculously busy supermarket to play a game of trolley bumper cars ever again. A huge sigh of relief. Instead, I’ll just ask Siri to sort it for me! Job done.

Will brands matter? 

One of the main questions/concerns over voice control is will the brand/supermarket actually matter? When I ask Alexa to order me some bread will I really be that bothered if it comes from Tesco or ASDA? Will I even care if it’s Hovis or Warburton’s as long as it arrives quickly? Maybe Alexa finds the brand on special offer, or the one it thinks I will prefer based on data from other similar houses in the UK. Maybe it orders me own brand because I’ve not prompted with a brand name. Whatever the reason, Alexa is deciding and the role of brands, advertising and the way the two operate is going to have to change!


Will there be a power struggle?  

For years and years in FMCG, supermarkets have had the power over suppliers, squeezing down supply costs and dragging out payment terms. Are the tables about to turn? After all, when customers are using Alexa, Google Home and Siri, they are effectively Amazon, Google or Apple’s ‘customers’; not the supermarkets or retailers. Is it about time the supermarkets were played at their own game? An article I read recently summed it up perfectly “It will no longer be consumers ordering their Tesco shopping through Alexa. It will be consumers ordering through Alexa and getting the delivery from Tesco.”

Of course, this shift will take a while and I’m sure we’re only just getting started. However, there’s certainly a lot of pressure on brands and supermarkets to really start planning for the eventuality that the majority of their customers will be ordering from their kitchen, not in store.


Posted 3 years ago by