retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

TechCrunch has a story about how in the competition for smart speaker market share between Amazon’s Alexa system and Google Home, “Amazon has soared ahead — the number of available voice skills for Alexa devices has grown to top 80,000 the company recently announced. According to a new third-party analysis from Voicebot, Google is trailing that by a wide margin with its own voice apps, called Google Assistant Actions, which total 4,253 in the U.S. as of January 2019.”

Now, Google is doing its best to catch up - “Google Assistant Actions have grown 2.5 times over the past year — which is slightly faster growth than seen on Amazon Alexa, whose skill count grew 2.2 times during the same period” - but it is off a much smaller number, so it has a way to go.

The story notes that “it does matter that Alexa is the platform developers are thinking about, as it’s an indication of platform commitment and an investment on developers’ part. Google, on the other hand, is powering a lot of its Assistant’s capabilities itself, leaning heavily on its Knowledge Base to answer users’ questions, while also leveraging its ability to integrate with Google’s larger suite of apps and services, as well as its other platforms, like Android.”

But what this all tells us is that there is a lot of brain power behind the smart speaker movement … which means that, inevitably, the means will be found to draw consumers more and more into its ecosystem. That’s important, because this technology - especially the Alexa-based systems - are designed to facilitate the shopping experience. And every dollar spent via Alexa or Google Home probably is a dollar not spent elsewhere.

That, to me, is the Eye-Opener.

By the way … I’ll be doing a session on this subject at the upcoming National Grocers Association (NGA) convention, engaging with Dan Bourgault, the VP - Sales & Business Development at Replenium about what this all means short-term and long term. The session, entitled “Giving Voice To A New Consumer-Retailer Connection,” is scheduled for Tuesday, February 26, 2019, at 10 am, and I hope that if you are in San Diego for NGA, you’ll join us.

Come say hello.
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