(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – -Fri, 7 Sept, 2018) London, Uk – –
The days of flipping through an Argos catalogue could well and truly be over. The retailer has today become the latest British brand to launch a voice shopping experience with Google Assistant.
Google Assistant, the search giant's voice assistant for smart speakers, can now search the web for Argos products and reserve them for its “click and collect” service.
By saying “Okay Google”, users are able to wake up the voice search function to find products sold by Argos.
The move brings voice shopping to UK customers directly through Google Assistant on Google Home smart speakers and on millions of Android smartphones.
It also places it in direct competition with Amazon's Alexa voice shopping service.
Voice shopping is forecast to be worth £3.5bn to the UK by 2022. Argos said it has seen smart speaker sales grow by 150pc year-on-year, while a recent Ofcom report said that 13pc of homes now have a smart speaker.
Rivals Amazon have already implemented a voice shopping service for British households. Ocado launched a voice shopping app for its Alexa voice assistant and Echo smart speakers last year.
Argos chief executive John Rogers said while voice shopping is still in its infancy, it makes sense to launch a service to cater for tech savvy customers.
“We are Google's biggest commercial customer and we want to be the first to market,” Mr Rogers said. “Over 70pc of our digital sales are thought mobile and most are fulfilled in our stores. With this you can go through a Google Home device or mobile to click and collect with voice.”
For now the voice experience is fairly rudimentary, allowing users to simply search for products and reserve them. In the future, Mr Rogers said Argos could add a payment option to the voice controls.
Tesco has also been experimenting with using voice for shopping, although its service does not directly use Google's Assistant. It works through a third party tool, known as If This Then That, meaning users need an extra app. Earlier this year, Asda said it would let users add products to their online basket using Google Assistant.
By Matthew Field