- The Mars Agency launched a skill for Amazon's Alexa to help customers shop for whiskey in stores. The Bottle Genius skill can answer questions based on a person's favorite whiskey flavor, occasion or desire to try something new and serve up three recommendations along with tasting and brand information, according to a press release.
- The Smart Aisle-powered voice feature, developed through the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is available at the Bottlerocket Wine and Spirit store in New York City through the end of February to celebrate the store's annual month-long tasting event. A custom-built shelf lights up to identify the personalized recommendations among the options available in the store to help consumers with purchase decisions.
- The Mars Agency has worked with other brands to develop personalized shopping experiences for consumers. In November, the agency created a voice-driven product selection for Eucerin Skincare to help shoppers find the right product for their specific skin type.
Bottlerocket's voice-powered feature lets the liquor retailer have greater control over the information it shares with consumers at a time when they're making a purchase decision or at least exploring their options. The connected shelving units then help direct consumers to their personalized recommendations for an easier shopping experience that's customized to their desired tastes and whiskey-buying occasion. This helps the retailer interact with consumers in a store without intermediaries like search engines, online marketplaces or social platforms that may steer consumers toward other products. The Alexa skill only suggests products that are stocked at Bottlerocket. That direct control is important for marketers to connect with consumers and provide personalized, useful product details about a whiskey's flavor and a holistic tasting experience.
Several major brands have also begun to embrace the potential of voice-powered assistants in stores to deliver personalized shopping experiences and help consumers select the best products to meet their needs. The new Bottle Genius skill on Alexa is taking voice-powered shopping to a new level by bridging the gap between digital and in-store shopping experiences. In October, drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline debuted high-tech shelves with special tags to give consumers an in-store interactive experience while making a purchase decision about Flonase allergy medication.
Voice assistants and other smart tech in stores offer many opportunities for marketers to guide consumers' purchasing decisions and provide more information while they're shopping for products in stores. Shopping via voice gives marketers access to consumer insights and purchasing habits, which they can use to tailor their offerings and provide more interactive experiences in the future.
Voice assistants are a growing fixture in consumers' daily lives, helping them access hands-free news and weather reports, recipes, music, list-making and shopping. About one-third of consumers use voice-controlled devices for online shopping, and 41% plan to use a device in the future, according to a Narvar study. By 2022, 70 million smart speaker devices are expected to be in U.S. households, reaching 55% of homes, according to data cited in the Mars Agency release. This points to the growing potential the technology might have in consumers' and brands' lives in the near future.