One of the latest shopping trends is through the use of voice assistance technology. In our “want it now” society that we live in, it’s all about convenience and fast response.

Here we explain Alexa voice search and how to rank your retail business for Alexa voice search.

What is Alexa?

Alexa is a voice activated, virtual assistant that is in the form of a speaker device, branded by Amazon.

Most likely you’ve heard references to it in conversation regardless if you own one or not. This cloud-based virtual assistant is offered through an actual Amazon device that is integrated specifically with Amazon’s ordering platform, as well as other collaborating companies.

Since the original launch of Alexa, Amazon has added other devices as well; all of which are designed to perform several tasks when vocally commanded to do so. For example, you can ask it to play classical music and it will search within it’s integrative services and find classical music.

Additionally you can ask it the weather and time. As third party devices become more and more available, more options will be easily accessible, adding to the existing capabilities such as connecting to speakers and lamps, offering the ability to work as voice commanded remotes and lock doors, adjusting thermostats and dimming lights.

The virtual assistant is programmed with a female voice and as you relay voice commands to it, it learns your voice, accent, etc. Of course being an Amazon product, you can tell Alexa or the Echo voice to place orders via Amazon, or even ask “her” to tell you some of the latest deals being offered by Amazon.

This voice activated command center is Amazon’s version of Apple’s “Siri.” Just as you can’t go out and buy a “Siri,” you can’t buy an “Alexa.” While the name has become synonymous to the actual Echo device, Alexa is actually the cloud-based voice that you are communicating with. In summary, by saying “Alexa,” you are alerting the devices to listen to you.

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Alexa Skills

As voice search and the voice-activated devices, such as Alexa, become more popular, app designers realize the opportunities and are jumping on the bandwagon. With Amazon’s ability to fuse with various third parties, Alexa’s skills increase.

What this means is through installing these third-party apps, the possibilities of voice command requests grow exponentially. For example, if you want to check out services available via “Lyft,” than simply say, “Alexa, enable Lyft.” This voice command has alerted your Echo device to add this as a skill for Alexa and order Lyft services through a simple voice request.

If you’re wondering how to choose and enable the Alexa Skills that best serve you, merely ask Alexa about a specific topic such as “Smart Home”, or say “Alexa, what are your new skills?” Perhaps your preference is to search online, if so check out Alexa’s Skills and view the list. Currently there are more than fifty-thousand Alexa Skills available.

The Impact Alexa Makes on Retail

The voice activated platform, Alexa is growing in popularity. Recent statistics show that people owning Echos quickly begin increasing their spending through this smart speaker and reduce spending in local “brick and mortar” stores.

In today’s fast paced world and the desire for so many things to be available at the click of a button, why wouldn’t it make sense for people to migrate over to the voice requests?  Think about it in the simplest, most basic way for a moment: You’re cooking dinner after having just got back from the grocery store and dealing with rush hour traffic and you pour your last cup of baking flour. You know you won’t need it for a few days, and the thought of going back out in the snow or Hot weather, dealing with people is not appealing, whatsoever. You remember hearing about the Alexa Skills and you know Amazon has a “Pantry” section, so in the midst of dinner preparations, you say “Alexa, place an order for all-purpose flour” and the task is done. No need to write it on a list, no need to make another trip to the store. It is taken care of.

And that is just one example. With so many options from hygiene, electronics, groceries, dog treats and skincare, people enjoy the convenience of the voice command ordering; and are even willing to pay a bit more for the avoidance of headaches and stress in dealing with people, travel and stores locally.

In regards to the statistics recently reported, consumers who have voice assistant devices actually purchase nearly double the products as the average shopper. The usage of voice search and smart speaker devices is increasing by fifty-percent annually.

Thus, any retailer who partners with Amazon is more likely to see a sales increase, if that retailers products resonate with the consumers who frequent Amazon.

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Integrating Alexa Skills as a Seller

In early 2018, it was announced that Amazon expanded Alexa Skills to better serve the sellers within the US marketplace, meaning sellers had access to business updates  just by activating the virtual assistant. Conveniently there’s not currently a fee to activate the skill and you can activate it by commanding: “Alexa, start Seller Central.” Done!

If you’re wondering exactly what information is accessible through this skill, it gives you the ability to ask questions such as “Alexa, do I have more orders?, Alexa, how are my campaigns?, Alexa, how is my inventory?, Alexa, when do I get paid? and Alexa, what is my current balance?”

This means no matter where you’re at, if you have access to Alexa, you can get updates any time day or night. 

By all appearances, it looks like Amazon recognizes that it’s just as important to provide quality services and conveniences to sellers as it is to consumers.

What Influence Does Amazon have on the Alexa Search Results?

Alexa search results will only access items that are available via Amazon. While multiple companies are increasingly making their products available on Amazon, these businesses will base their decisions on what Amazon shoppers typically purchase.

For instance, Procter & Gamble is one large entity that Amazon has negotiated with, in order to make its products available through the Amazon platform. Amazon realizes that the more shopping categories and options available within their scope of offerings, the fuller their pockets will become.

However, on the flip side, companies will approach the concept of partnership after digging into the data to ensure it makes sense for them. Interestingly enough though, large companies acknowledge how turned off consumers are with blatant advertising and Alexa cleverly addresses this be politely making suggestions to consumers. This is made possible through Amazon’s algorithm and monitoring tactics of its consumers habits. Frankly, it is simple, yet quite elegant.

Amazon has always been user-focused and they’ve built their name through customer satisfaction and creating a great online shopping experience for users. Don’t think it stops there, they’ve skillfully incorporated that into Alexa’s response and suggest motives and a large percentage of customers perceive it an added convenient feature.

As Alexa Skills continue to expand with other companies, Alexa will continue to excel to the highest level of customer service by offering a plethora of options in an unobtrusive manner of politely making suggestions.

Final Words

Whether you have both, a  “brick and mortar business” and an online presence or if your entire real estate is internet based, a smart marketing plan will incorporate the growing trends based on internet activity. Voice search is growing at a very fast pace, so don’t get left in the dust, go with the trends and get with the times!

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