- Amazon said shoppers can now use their Echo smart speakers and its Alexa voice assistant to shop at the Whole Foods grocery chain, according to VentureBeat. The new feature comes a year after Amazon acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.
- Users can ask Alexa to add items to their Whole Food carts, and the voice assistant will note the order and ask about additional items. After finishing adding items to a cart, shoppers can say "Alexa, check out" to complete the order.
- Shoppers must use the Amazon Prime Now app to activate the voice shopping service. The company's Prime Now delivery service is available to members of Amazon Prime, who must meet minimum purchase requirements depending on their location.
Amazon's expansion of Alexa voice shopping at Whole Foods brings the service to the dozens of cities where Prime Now operates, arriving at a time when there are questions over how strong the adoption rate for voice shopping is. A report this week on The Information suggests that voice shopping isn’t very common among Alexa users, and another survey suggests that two-thirds of consumers don't see voice shopping as important to the customer experience, according to digital marketing company Bazaarvoice.
Consumers said they mostly prefer technologies that add convenience and remove friction from their shopping experience. A key strength for Amazon is its expertise in squeezing inefficiencies out of distribution channels and providing highly reliable customer service, so the expansion of Prime Now delivery from Whole Foods may help to drive growth and wider adoption of voice shopping.
Amazon is starting to see benefits from integrating its e-commerce platform with Whole Foods. Amazon started selling Echo speakers in Whole Foods stores to reach a broader audience of shoppers and added Amazon lockers to Whole Foods locations to make it easier for people to pick up their online orders. Amazon also offers 10% discounts on certain items for members of its Prime service, which costs about $120 a year to get free two-day shipping on most items, among other perks. Prime member benefits at Whole Foods have some of highest adoption rates for a Prime perk in the company's history, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said last month, per Venture Beat.
The e-commerce giant hasn't revealed many public details about the adoption of voice shopping, and may be poised to focus on services like media streaming or audiobooks to monetize its digital assistant technology instead, per Business Insider.