From The Editor | February 9, 2018

Advice On Voice

Erin

By Erin Harris, editor-in-chief

Amazon Alexa

In the upcoming March/April 2018 issue of Retail Executive, I dedicate my Viewpoint article to voice commerce, a topic we’ll be covering more diligently as the technology progresses. As such, I caught up with Saeed Amidi, CEO of Plug and Play Tech Center and Retail Executive Editorial Advisory Board member to get his take on the progression of the technology and how retailers should utilize it.

There is a growing emphasis on voice commerce. Explain your thoughts on the technology and how retail is poised to benefit from it. 

Amidi: In the next year, I believe that many retailers and brands will have voice commerce at the top of their innovation priority list. With the rising popularity of voice technology in homes, like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, I see this technology becoming an essential way for people to discover, buy, follow, and share most goods.

The impact on retail and brands is twofold. First, disintermediation by the voice platform — there will be an actual voice created by a tech company that is interacting with the end customer instead of the brands and retailers themselves. Second, the vocal shelf will see an accelerated rise of new brands that master customer discovery through voice. Ultimately, the companies who will benefit most will be those with direct relationships with the consumer and dominant technology ecosystems of devices, content development, and distribution. The impact on retail and brands will be as significant as the impact of digital. That is unless retailers and brands get involved in voice now.

An easy way to get started is to work with startups already building solutions for voice commerce. If you went to CES you would have seen the hologram experience with voice built by VNTANA with Satisfi Labs. Hello Vera was in Plug and Play’s last Brand & Retail batch and was founded by co-creator of Watson Question and Answering System. Voice is a natural extension of the conversational, chat, and social messenger solutions you see from startups like Inbenta, Alcmeon, and Rancard.

Just don’t wait to start learning about and piloting voice commerce technology, particularly if you are a retailer or brand. I’m certain that we’ll look back at the end of 2018 and say that voice is mightier than the store.

VNTANA and Satisfi Labs - https://vimeo.com/236440029, https://vntana.com/, https://www.satis.fi/

Hello Vera - https://www.hellovera.ai/

Inbenta - https://www.inbenta.com/en/

Alcmeon - https://alcmeon.com/3/eng/

Rancard - https://www.rancard.com/