Is Alexa's Brand Bias Affecting the AI Sales Model?

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By Ideas Collide

Brands are developing on new devices, screens and technology every day. One of the latest innovative markets is the combination of voice recognition technology and retail – Conversational Commerce (eCommerce). As brick-and-mortar stores seem to be shutting their doors in lieu of online retailers, is there a new giant in town that has it out for online retailers?

The trend of the “lazy consumer” is not revolutionary. In fact, there is a strong argument that technology is fostering consumers to act informally while expecting instant results. Consumers can’t be bothered to actually go into a store anymore, utilizing online giants like Amazon for household basics, groceries, and more.

The behavioral shift to purchase household basics – toothpaste, snacks, toilet paper, tissues – from in-person to online is no surprise. All said, the consumer shift from eCommerce to vCommerce is throwing brands for a loop. Consumers no longer even want to spend effort online shopping, utilizing Alexa to do their shopping.

A third of all computing will be screenless by 2020…because consumers are not in front of a screen many of the levers that a brand traditionally pulls – eye-to-level visibility, shelf placement, design, packaging and pricing – are done away with. [vCommerce] emasculates brands.” Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Barking commands like “Need toothpaste order now,” consumers want products and they want them now. Not only this, but they want Alexa to give them the best products at the best cost – and they don’t want to have to say that either.

This means they aren’t asking for brands, but for generic products. While this hasn’t been too troubling for online brands that understand SEO and rankings, brands trying to compete for vCommerce orders are left to suffer. Without a screen, only one product can be named. Unless they have a preexisting brand loyalty, customers are more likely to ask for a product type and not a brand specific product. If you can achieve top-ranks for your product on Amazon.com, does this mean Amazon is featuring your product when consumers ask “Alexa, order toothpaste”?

Amazon utilizes its algorithm to determine the best deal in nanoseconds. The algorithm favors product that generates the highest margin for Amazon. Scott also mentioned Alexa doesn’t always present the majority of available product options, with a slight bias towards Amazon’s privately-owned brands. So, what can you do?

You are the needle in the haystack. It’s up to you to make your consumers want to look for you. Mimicking the in-store and online experience without a screen or shelf integrates vCommerce into your retail strategy, leading customers to ask specifically for your product. Brand awareness and differentiation have never been more important than now. Voice search is here to stay, it’s up to you to adapt. Visit Ideas Collide’s suite of solutions to find services to keep you ahead of the curve.