Amazon Pay on the future of Voice Commerce

“68% of users who have transacted using voice as of end of July 2020 will continue to do so.” – Karen Webster

Kris Zanuldin, Head of Product at Amazon Pay, yesterday gave an interview with Karen Webster, CEO of They they laid out opportunities for voice commerce today and over the next few years.  Here I note my key take-aways.

What we are seeing with voice adoption is typical of consumer adoption for new technologies.  People are trying to work out how to think about their ‘voice strategy’ but if mobile has taught us anything we need to think more holistically about where voice delivers value and work that into the overall customer experience rather than silo voice.  Once the customer trusts the channel and it delivers reduced friction it will be adopted and old channels get left behind.  For example, we no longer see mail order…

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With voice, we are still early, in the stage of that first interaction. Once we can get customers across the line with their first transaction we have the opportunity to build on that trust, that will then open up to more customer adoption.  Luckily most Alexa users already have an Amazon Pay account.

A good example of how Amazon are leveraging trust is through delivery notifications. These start to enable customers to trust Alexa can deliver a valuable service, even if it is not delivered through the conversational layer but through the Alexa service layer.

This trust then allows the next baby step to ‘trust Alexa’ which, as Kris says:

“Opens up a ton more experiences for voice commerce”

For example; consider the microwave & Alexa.  Ever more attractive in a touch-less environment.  The options available to you from a microwave hold countless variations.  You could either consult a manual or ask a trusted assistant. E.g. “I want to cook 300g of fish from frozen”

With a trusted assistant you get to the answer, quicker than leafing through a manual.  You also get perfectly cooked fish.

Eat that once and you will trust the microwave forever.

The true application is your smartest friend, helping you to get tasks done.

The ‘Alexa Everywhere’ vision:

Beyond the home, Alexa will no longer be tied to a device, she is an assistant not a smart speaker. Accessible on your smartphone, earbuds, cars and home cinema, enabling ever more opportunities for direct response from media in and out of the home.

Lets not forget the user-base, the Alexa customer base is very forward leaning and by default open to trying new ways of engaging with digital products and services where value is demonstrated.  Otherwise they would not have allowed the devices in their house.

For brands wondering where to start the advice is to find the ‘hero use-case’.  Make it simple and work well.  Humans are creatures of habit, once you know what you want Alexa really supports a regular use-case and Amazon’s own data supports predictable transactions.

How to think about voice search:

There is a tyranny of search in the world right now with information abundance.  Once trusted, your assistant can offer recommendations that shave off wasted moments of admin and over time deliver huge value to everyday routine. This is the direction of travel for a truly trusted assistant that plays the part of another trusted friend.

Closing thoughts, how to think about your Voice strategy?: 

Work out how to integrate a friend rather than a technology into a commerce strategy. This is an experience engine not a channel extension.  If you get this right you are setting the right foundations to lower CAC and increase LTV for your brand as you will have a march on your laggard competitors.

Watch the full interview here

If you are in any way interested in pushing this channel forward, please get in touch, comment or use in your own work.  We need to work together as a movement.

About Say It Now

With a heritage of enterprise software delivery experience, Say It Now specialises in understanding natural language so that computers can talk to people in the same way that people converse with each other.  This helps brands and consumers to benefit from automated communications, which are becoming increasingly relevant as more people have smart speakers in their homes and are becoming comfortable and confident using them.

Launched in 2018, the company provides consulting and software development services to enable transactions and insights using voice assistants on smart speakers (Amazon Alexa and Google Home) and chatbots on messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and SMS.

The company won the UK and European rounds of Amazon’s Alexa Cup competition, and achieved the bronze medal in the final held at the end of July 2019.