Amazon sweetens Alexa for Prime Day
Amazon is showcasing its Alexa voice assistant, giving users of the feature (via Amazon’s speaker devices and app) extra time and extra discounts for Prime Day, according to a company press release emailed to Retail Dive. For the first time, for example, Amazon device owners can sign up for Prime using just their voice by saying, “Alexa, sign me up for Prime.” Those who do, will get their first year of Prime at a $20 discount.
Voice shoppers can access select Prime Day deals two hours before others and some 100 Alexa-exclusive deals are already available, the company said.
Voice shoppers can ask, “Alexa, what are your deals?” to find out the latest deals and to be entered into a $5,000 sweepstakes. Customers who purchase with Alexa’s help between now and Prime Day, July 11, also receive a bonus $10 promo code.
Prime Day is officially July 11, but the sale will start earlier than that. Even without these Alexa-only deals, the fun technically starts 9 p.m. Eastern Time on July 10. But anyone leveraging Alexa’s abilities can start sooner and will be privy to more deals, which Amazon said will include $20 to $50 savings on electronics and peripherals, among other discounts.
"Voice shopping is becoming more popular and with several promos this week, Amazon is hoping to get new voice customers on their side and away from Google," BestBlackFriday co-owner Phillip Dengler said in an email to Retail Dive. "Amazon's thinking with this promo is if a customer sees the ease of voice ordering once, then they are much more likely to do it again. And the more users that use voice shopping, the more orders Amazon is likely to fill since the shoppers no longer have to log into Amazon and browse, but can simply talk to an Alexa device they are likely already using."
There’s ample reason for Amazon to push Alexa in these ways — the voice assistant feature is on pace to help provide approximately $10 billion in revenues by 2020 and be a "mega-hit," according to a note published this past spring by investment bank RBC Capital Markets. Amazon is on track to sell some 60 million Alexa devices by 2020 for roughly $5 billion, which could bring the total number of such devices up to 128 million, according to the report. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners said in January that 8.2 million U.S. Amazon customers currently have Alexa-enabled Echo devices, according to data mailed to Retail Dive.
“There’s a big impetus to get an Echo in the hands of people, considering that, if you look at the Amazon Echo buyer metrics, we know that the Amazon Echo buyer makes purchases more frequently, and their spend per buyer is twice as much as the average Amazon buyer once they have one,” Andy Mantis, EVP of NPD Group’s Checkout Tracking, told Retail Dive last year.
Furthermore, owners of the Amazon Echo spent around 10% more on Amazon in the six months after they bought the voice-controlled speaker than before they had it, with purchase frequency also growing 6%, NPD Group's Checkout Tracking found. In addition, Echo owners conduct about half of their total online spending at Amazon after they buy an Echo.
In September, just over a third of respondents in a survey of 1,748 Amazon customers had heard of Alexa, Echo and related products, according to a RBC survey. Another survey found that awareness had risen to 77%, and ownership of such devices rose from 13% to 87% in the same period. Along with that growing awareness is some growing hesitation about the role that such devices could have in undermining online privacy. Still, voice-assisted technology is growing rapidly, with Amazon alone ramping up Echo skills from 1,000 to 7,000 in earlier this year, with no end in sight. As Wired magazine wrote in January. “This is the year Alexa conquers the world.”
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