News

POV: Amazon Prime Day

Background

Prime Day, Amazon’s ‘mega sale’, celebrates its third anniversary next week and expands to thirteen countries around the world on July 11th.   Some sneak peek deals will arrive the night before, but in an effort to encourage voice shopping and growth in Amazon Prime membership, shoppers using Amazon’s voice devices will get an even bigger head start: they’ll have two hours of shopping before Prime Day opens to the public and access to exclusive deals and promotions.

Details and Implications

While still somewhat in its infancy, consumers are embracing voice technology to stream music, get information about traffic, set kitchen timers, etc.  However, shopping via voice hasn’t yet seemed to resonate.  In fact, over half of all consumers say they have no interest in voice shopping -- not because they don’t want to use their voice, but because they don’t trust the device to get the order right. Moreover, the current voice shopping experience adds a step to the transaction and forces consumers to make a buying decision without as much information as standing at a shelf or viewing a product-listing page.

Amazon knows that the more consumers it can bring into its ecosystem the better experience it can create, the more value it can deliver and the more money it can make (Amazon refers to this as the Amazon flywheel).  It sees voice as the next chapter in the flywheel but before it can conquer the world of voice it must get consumers over these hurdles when it comes to shopping. The solution is a classic retail tactic reinvented for voice - Amazon is offering first time voice shoppers $10 off their purchase, entry into a cash-prize sweepstakes and for those Alexa owners who aren’t Prime members, the opportunity to become a prime member at a discount (e.g. $20 off an annual membership in the US or £20 off in the UK).  With these incentives, Amazon hopes it can create new consumer behaviour and drive further adoption of voice technology.

For brands, this should serve as the signal that voice is here to stay and will continue to grow (potentially very quickly). Understanding the space and beginning to assess where a brand could / should play is critical.  Mindshare’s recent global Speak Easy research has been honed into an accompanying workshop that aims to identify strategic opportunities for brands around voice technology & develop an initial set of ideas for activation. Now that we have Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s soon to launch HomePod, it’s clear that brands need to understand voice marketing and stake out their territory.

Summary

Placing voice at the heart of Prime Day is a bold statement from Amazon and shows a big bet on voice and a belief that some of its future growth will come from consumer adoption of the technology. Offering exclusive deals and promotions to voice shoppers will become commonplace for Amazon. And when you shop via voice you don’t get a huge long list of products as search results, you just get one – whether that is an Amazon own-brand, your brand or a rival, may make a big impact on your sales.  So brands should be exploring the voice space now and working out how to best engage users of the next big game changing technology.

Further reading:
Techcrunch
The Amazon Flywheel Explained
Mindshare / JWT Speak Easy Research