Recently I wrote about Bot Stores and Facebook Messenger as a brand new threat to retail.
Well there is another competing type of retail – It has been around for a while and is gaining more traction: Echo is Amazon’s voice-activated smart home speaker. Its new siblings are the Amazon Echo Dot and Tap. Via voice command it can:
- Play music
- Answer questions
- Create reminders
- Act as a timer in your kitchen
- Even do things around your home with the right connected devices (e.g.: turn on/off lights, turn up/down your thermostat).
It can also order music from Amazon’s Digital Music Store, order pizza from Domino’s, request rides from Uber, reorder physical products from Amazon and add products to your shopping cart on Amazon.com – all via voice command – even across a room.
Rumor has it that Amazon is developing a device that would be installed in an Internet-connected home (sound familiar?), in which various appliances would “talk” to each other via Wi-Fi. Sensors would be able to detect when the home is, say, in need of detergent, filters, etc… Those items could be purchased with a click of a button or some other confirmation. Think of it as a souped-up version of their Echo and Button.
Retailers – get prepared for yet another huge disruption that is already on its way. Or better still, figure out a way you can leverage it – Just like Amazon, Domino’s and Uber have done. Or let this disruption open up other ideas to create frictionless purchasing for your customers. Omni-channel is a start and a challenge: The logistics are difficult and costs are high right now. And standards need to be developed. In fact, GS1 US is working on guidelines around omni-channel support.
Keep thinking outside the box – or the brick and mortar – to find other innovations, such as your own same-day delivery of both online and in-store purchases.
As the expression goes: “Where this is chaos, there is opportunity”.