What is Amazon Alexa?
Alexa is a voice-controlled system developed by Amazon. It’s similar to Apple Siri and Google Assistant, and it does the same job for online shopping, music and podcast streaming, providing weather and traffic information, and many other functions. It was developed in November 2014 – the same time Amazon introduced Echo, which is a smart speaker integrated with Alexa to enable voice interaction. Echo was the first device to use Alexa as its voice-control system, and as it took off, more devices started to use Alexa, such as Sonos One (home sound system), Ecobee4 (smart thermostat) and GUESS Men’s Connect Smartwatch.
Functions / Skills of Amazon Alexa
Amazon Alexa continuously improves each day, especially since Amazon allowed developers to build and publish skills for Alexa. Amazon provides tools, APIs, reference solutions, and documentation to make it easy for anyone to build with Alexa. To date, Alexa can do the following with various supported devices:
- Provide Weather Reports
- Stream Music and Podcasts
- Manage voice-controlled alarms, timers, and shopping and to-do lists
- Access Wikipedia articles
- Home automation
- Order take-out food from Domino’s Pizza, Grubhub, Pizza Hut, Seamless, and Wingstop and Just East
- Voice-shopping on Amazon
- Online Banking (Capital One, Amex, Ally)
- Control and locate certain models of vehicles (Hyundai, Genesis, Toyota and BMW)
- Count calories using Track by Nutritionix
- Send and read SMS text messages
- Make and answer phone calls
- Track flights
- Request a ride and find a hotel
- Voice chat with Alexa or with real people
Can I Sell on Amazon Alexa?
The answer is yes. However, when a customer makes a voice purchase request, Alexa searches only through Prime-eligible items from their order history and Amazon’s Choice items. You have to use FBA to get your items Prime eligible, and get your products listed on Amazon’s Choice items by having positive product ratings and higher sales volume.
Voice-Shopping Using Alexa
Voice-shopping using Alexa is currently available for US, German and UK customers, and is only available to Prime members and Prime-eligible products.
To get started, you only have to say, “Alexa, let’s Shop,” and tell it what to shop for. You can say, “Alexa, order ground coffee,” and Alexa will then search through Prime-eligible items from your order history and Amazon’s Choice items. Alexa will provide the price and ask you to confirm an order.
With Alexa you can track your order, enable secure shopping by setting up a 4-digit PIN to prevent unintended purchases, reorder items, cancel an order, and get updated Amazon shopping deals.
Requirements for Voice-shopping with Alexa:
- An Amazon Prime membership
- A valid payment method
- An Amazon account
- A device with access to Alexa
The Future of E-commerce on Amazon Alexa
As technology advances, e-commerce improves as well. Voice-shopping takes e-commerce to a whole new level. According to IHS Markit, a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions, more than 5 billion consumer devices supporting digital assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant will be in use in 2018, with almost 3 billion more added by 2021. Globally, the native digital assistant installed base is set to exceed 7.5 billion active devices by 2021, which is more than the world population according to the US Census Bureau on May 1, 2017 – according to Ovum, a popular market research company.
More digital assistants like Alexa will take e-commerce to a whole new level in the coming years, and their impact on e-commerce will simply drive more sales. In fact, RBC’s Mahaney says Amazon will generate an additional $10 billion to $11 billion in sales from Alexa-related revenue in 2020.
Truly, this vocal commerce revolution brings an innovative, engaging, and high-quality experience to consumers.