Voice-activated assistants are going to change everything.
Ok, maybe not everything, but a lot of things.
As happens with all new user interfaces, clumsy early voice-activated technologies and widespread scepticism have combined to relegate the AI assistant to the role of “intriguing novelty” in the eyes of the public thus far. But that perception won’t last long. As anyone who has studied the progress of digital technology can tell you, it never does.
Offer a more convenient user interface and humankind will invariably gravitate toward it. This is the first law of digital human thermodynamics.
Remember how amazing it once was to be able to walk to your home computer and look up pretty much anything in mere moments? Who bothers with that anymore now that they can accomplish the same thing simply by reaching for their smartphone? Pretty much no one.
Why? Because convenience is king.
The voice-activated AI assistant represents the next step in the evolution of digital convenience. And its masters (Amazon, Google, Apple, and soon Facebook) have their eyes firmly fixed on the world’s wallets.
Voice-Activated Grocery Shopping: The Race Is On
Shopping by voice-activated assistant is expected to be a goldmine.
But it won’t be the kind of shopping that users have already flocked to the internet for. Most will still want to browse images and comparison shop when purchasing electronics, collectibles, vehicles and luxury items.
But what about toilet paper, granola bars, dish soap and shampoo?
For these items, most consumers know which brand they want, how much they are willing to pay, and where they like to buy them. Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) or Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) like these, which have traditionally been more difficult to sell direct online, are a perfect fit for voice activated assistant shopping.
If people can simply call out such items as they run out (or run low), and have them replaced during the next weekly delivery from their favourite retailer, would they ever bother to set foot in a brick-and-mortar grocery store again?
But the smart money says they would, at a bare minimum, do so far less frequently than they do today.
The big brands know this. It’s why Google and Amazon are clamouring to get their own virtual assistants into as many homes as possible as quickly as possible, with Facebook and Apple nipping at their heels.
It’s why FMCG/CPG brands’ marketing departments are hard at work, at this very moment, developing strategies to establish their product position in the new AI marketing landscape. It’s why claiming a “preferred brand” spot on the world’s virtual shopping lists will be this decade’s digital gold rush.
“Hey Alexa, order more toilet paper”, “Hey google, we’re out of milk”, or “Siri, I need the ingredients for a Sunday roast”.
Which is it to be?
The race is on…