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Voice Activated Shopping Is Here, But Is It Working?

Demand for voice activated speakers such as the Amazon Echo is growing, but it has not led to a big increase in voice activated shopping claims the experts.
However, this has not stopped UK retailer Argos from launching a “voice shopping” service to let people reserve products in a local store using a Google Home smart speaker.

They are one of the first retailer in the UK to offer a shopping service via the Google Assistant platform. ChannelNews understands that two major Australian retailers have spoken to Google about the Australian market.

Argos made the move believing that they faced increased competition from online giant Amazon, which produces its own voice-controlled Echo speakers.

However, even though Amazon has sold millions of Echo speakers, analysts say few people use them to buy products.

“This launch is step one and I don’t expect to turn on the app and suddenly double our sales,” Argos chief executive John Rogers told the BBC.

“But I expect people will use it and experiment with it – and if we can make it a seamless process, you can see why people would want to use it.”

After enabling the Argos service, people will be able to ask the Google Home smart speaker to check product availability and reserve items.

The service will also work via Google Assistant on smartphones.

Mr Rogers said Argos sold thousands of devices powered by Amazon’s Alexa voice technology, but the retailer does not have a voice app on the Alexa platform.

“We do talk to all these players, whether it’s Amazon, Google or Microsoft,” Mr Rogers told the BBC.

“We’re taking the approach of trying and testing – we’re dipping a toe in the water.”

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