By 2020, sales generated by virtual assistants alone will reach 2.1 billion dollars (Gartner study).

Technology is ready and the environment is ripe. During its latest Keynote, AMAZON presented a series of connected devices capable of listening and interacting: microwave oven, baby monitor, glasses…innovations the aim of which are to add to the range of 85,000 products already connected to the home assistant: ALEXA.

The aim is clear: win the battle between virtual assistants and become THE channel for voice commerce.

Speakers, smartphones, connected devices…voice commerce is making headway in the customer journey. An opportunity for the GAFA and a challenge for retailers who find themselves having to delegate part of the customer journey…

Is Conversational Commerce any better?


Consumers seem to think so. 40% have already said that they prefer to use virtual assistants than websites (Capgemini study). And we can celebrate in terms of turnover too. ALEXA users spend on average $700 more than AMAZON website users.

So it would seem that all is well in the wonderful world of virtual assistants. Except that…

There’s a lot of interaction…but not many suggestions.


Whereas SIRI, ALEXA and even GOOGLE can respond to a number of requests, the single voice channel limits the amount and quality of information exchanged and delegates a number of micro-decisions to the machine. For example, if you ask ALEXA to order some popcorn for your film night, it will offer one of its partner brands…to the detriment of all others, even if it would suit you better in terms of price, flavour and ethics. Removing the Client-Distributor intermediary would not be without consequence for established retailers or newcomers.

Welcome to the age of (p)referencing.


Aware of these challenges, many retailers have already made deals with the GAFA: for example, the CASINO group and GOOGLE. It’s an important victory for the distributor which will improve its position in relation to its direct competitors…but not completely. GOOGLE will retain all the data generated by the transactions. So, are retailers condemned to follow the “diktats” of the Silicon Valley giants? Not necessarily, if they can develop their own solutions.

Photo Credits : AMAZON, GOOGLE