Amazon announced a new feature of the intelligent voice assistant Alexa-Customers Ask Alexa at the annual seller conference Amazon Accelerate. The new feature lets Alexa answer user questions with sponsored product ads.
When users ask common questions like "How do I clean pet hair from my carpet?" Alexa might suggest a duster for you. "How do I get rid of the smell of soil stains?" Alexa might recommend an air freshener for you. Amazon explained in a blog post: Registered brands on Amazon can use the Customers Ask Alexa feature through Seller Central, where they can use self-service tools to discover and answer frequently asked questions from users.
Answers submitted by all brands will be subject to content moderation and quality checks, Amazon said. The feature will start running in October 2022, and will initially be used in a small area using an invitation-only system, and is expected to be rolled out on a large scale in the United States in 2023.
Amazon has frequent marketing actions, and Alexa becomes a "marketing assistant"?
Amazon is using Alexa more and more for advertising, and people find Alexa more and more boring. In 2021, Amazon Music, which is owned by Amazon, launched interactive audio ads and allowed customers to add the advertised items to their Amazon shopping cart by saying "Alexa, add to cart."
Recently, Amazon has also begun to cooperate with some brands to display product promotions in the form of static images on the smart speaker Amazon Echo, and in the "ambient use" function, it is displayed in turn with the weather, recipes, sports, news, and other content. It was previously reported that Amazon and third-party service providers collect voice data from customers' interactions with Alexa through speakers, TVs, and other devices and share it with 41 advertising partners, according to a report released in April. An Amazon spokesman denied the news.
With advertising voice assistants + marketing emails, Amazon's excessive marketing may be counterproductive
Also for advertising purposes, in addition to Customers Ask Alexa, Amazon announced another feature at Amazon Accelerate, its annual seller conference, Tailored Audiences. The Tailored Audiences feature allows registered brands on Amazon to send marketing emails directly to customers. Bloomberg commented on the matter, arguing that this could be counterproductive, especially when these marketing emails are used in conjunction with Alexa's advertising promotions, and customers may actually resent the promoted products.
Through this kind of unpopular product placement, Alexa cannot effectively drive sales on the Amazon marketplace. It is estimated that at least tens of millions of Alexa users around the world do not make purchases through voice assistants. According to eMarketer survey data, only 10.8% of customers made online purchases through Alexa in 2020.
Two New Features Help Amazon Marketing
Amazon's annual Amazon Accelerate conference is one of Amazon's premier events designed to help small-scale third-party sellers better sell digitally. Jeff Wilke, Amazon's CEO of Worldwide Consumer, said more than 1,800 merchants participated in the Accelerated Conference during the new crown. Sales from third-party sellers account for about 60% of physical Amazon sales, according to Amazon data. And Amazon's two new features, Customers Ask Alexa and Tailored Audiences, may help third-party brands to promote their products, but whether this will be counterproductive, we don't know.