Hi Alexa. Order me a Dunkin’ Donuts medium iced coffee with cream and sugar.
Looks like another QSR is entering the conversational commerce game. Dunkin’ joins the ranks Starbucks, Dominos, and, as I was surprised to learn, TGI Fridays. When it comes to new ways to pay such as mobile order and pay or self-ordering at a point-of-sale kiosk like the ones McDonalds has been implementing, it would seem that QSRs are taking full advantages of them, and with good reason.
According to a recent TechCrunch article, 47.3 million U.S. adults have access to a smart speaker. This is approximately 20% of the adult U.S. population, and it represents a big opportunity for merchants. It is important, however, to consider the frequency with which someone uses a smart speaker. In a recent Mastercard white paper supported by Mercator Advisory Group, a survey question looking at the frequency of usage of natural language processing (the process that makes the speaker “smart”) via a speaker, found that only 6% of respondents use it on a daily basis, while 4% use it once a week or more and 2% use it less than weekly. It is also worth keeping in mind that not all the usage is directed at commerce. Needless to say, conversational commerce via smart speakers is still in its infancy but is showing growth potential.
Another area that could see an explosion of growth for conversational commerce is the so-called connected car. If your car has an interface with Alexa integrated, you would assume that all the available skills built into the smart speaker would be accessible in the car. For QSRs, the car integration has a major advantage — GPS location. Imagine you are driving down the road and on your dash a notification appears or a voice says: “It’s hot out today. Why not get an iced coffee?” You agree and say, “Alexa, order me my usual from Dunkin’ Donuts,” and then GPS coordinates show up on your dash indicating the closest Dunkin’ Donuts. Your order is ready when you arrive. This experience might be closer than you think. You can read more about the expected vehicle Alexa integrations at Gearbrain.
As trust in conversational commerce continues to grow and it is adopted by more and more users, those merchants who are ahead of the curve will reap the benefit of this new commerce channel. Readers curious to learn more about Alexa skills can check out a great codeacademy class here, or if Google is more your style, you can learn more about programming your own Google action here