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These 13 brands use Alexa Skills to engage creatively with their consumers

Is your brand positioned toward consumers? You should consider having an Alexa skill to engage creatively with your consumers.

Why?

Because voice has changed consumer behaviour and brands need to start leveraging its power.

According to eMarketer, voice-control technology has officially moved out of the early-adopter phase and into the mainstream.

The market of voice-assistants (Alexa, Google Duplex, ….) is expanding quickly and the reason is very simple: talking to voice-assistants feels natural to people and it’s more convenient.

Voice-assistants users can multitask and get more done with less friction. Shoppers and parents are power users.

Habitual shoppers love the convenience of the shopping experience and getting things done while taking care of a child is every parent’s dream.

Discover more insights on voice including the 2019 Microsoft Voice Report in How voice is changing customer behaviour and the way you do marketing.

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Let’s see how 13 brands take advantage of Alexa Skills to engage with their consumers:

1. Starbucks Reorder

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Use Starbucks’ Alexa Skill to reorder your usual cup of coffee from one of the last 10 stores you’ve ordered from.

You can also check your primary Starbucks Card balance and switch between your last 5 previous orders.

2. Domino’s

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With Domino’s skill, you can build a new order from scratch, place your most recent order or check your order’s status.

3. Uber

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Get a reliable ride in minutes with the Uber skill.

4. Citi Entertainment

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Citi Entertainment is developed by Citibank, the financial services company. Use this skill to search for thousands of live music events all over the country.

5. TED Talks

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TED Talks are influential videos from expert speakers on education, business, science, technology.

With its Alexa Skill, the nonprofit organization allows users to play the latest TED talk, play random TED talks, or search for talks by topic or by speaker name. They can also play talks that are funny, inspiring, persuasive, courageous, or jaw-dropping.

6. OurGroceries

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OurGroceries is a mobile app which provides users with a way to keep grocery lists instantly synchronized on all the smartphones in their household.

This skill lets users add items to the shopping lists on their app.

7. Walmart Stories

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In this skill, Walmart invites consumers to discover how the organization is using innovative technologies to redefine the associate and customer experience.

8. Levi’s Assistant

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With this Alexa Skill, users get answers to common questions about the jeans manufacturer’s services.

Levi’s shoppers can get help on return policy, how to use gift cards, available payment methods, and more. They can also get help on finding a pair of jeans or the nearest store, track their order and get information on the latest promotions.

9. Bed Bath & Beyond tip of the day

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Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. is an American chain of domestic merchandise retail stores.

The company’s Alexa Skill provides users with a daily dose of little life-changers like genius hacks, fun facts, smart tips and expert tricks.

The skill also helps users pick the best products for their whole house, top to bottom.

10. Employment Tips by MooreSuccess Inc.

MooreSuccess is an executive recruiting firm with over 10 years of experience. In its Alexa Skill, the company offers exclusive tips and advice for job seekers from an expert human resources executive.

11. Ten Things in Tech by Business Insider

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Business Insider, the financial and business news website operating internationally, developed an Alexa Skill which provides users with the biggest daily tech news.

12. Johnnie Walker

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Johnnie Walker, the famous brand of Scotch whiskey goes all-in with its Alexa Skill.

The skill invites users to explore nearly two centuries of whisky knowledge with 4 different options: Choose a Label, Buy a Bottle, Whisky 101, and Try a Guided Tasting.

In “Choose a Label”, consumers can find the perfect blend for themselves or a gift through a series of questions about flavour preference and price.

If consumers are looking to simply buy a bottle of Johnnie Walker, they can choose “Buy a Bottle” and Alexa will help them find the nearest store or delivery option.

When they select “Whisky 101”, Alexa will share a random fact about Johnnie Walker or whisky in general.

In order to “Try a Guided Tasting”, consumers will need one of the core Johnnie Walker Labels on hand: Red Label, Black Label, etc. Then, Alexa will conduct a personalized tasting based on the blend they choose. As they sniff and sip their way through the tasting, she’ll give helpful tips and ways to serve.

13. Hellmann’s Best Recipes by Unilever

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Hellmann’s Best Recipes by Unilever is the perfect answer when you want to cook your family a hot meal and need some culinary inspiration. Hellmann’s Alexa Skill has got you covered with a large database of delicious recipes. It’s too late to go shopping and you need to cook with whatever ingredients you have in your fridge? Hellmann’s Best Recipes can help you by providing recipe ideas for ingredients you already have on hand.

Are you planning to launch your own Alexa Skill?

Good!

To make sure you treat your consumers to a great voice-activated experience, here’s how your skill needs to be:

hand-clickFrictionless. Make sure your users’ experience is seamless.

hand-clickHelpful and informative. Include answers that your customers might look for: discounts, catalogue prices, return policy, work hours, the closest store, recommendations related to your product etc.

hand-clickNo commercials. Refrain from including commercials in your skill, it’s annoying and it turns people off.

hand-clickThe latest. Provide your consumers with the latest news, the latest company info or products discounts. If you are providing news like the Business Insider, ensure that you upload the latest relevant news to your users.

hand-clickEntertaining. If it’s aligned with your brand values and consistent with your brand voice, be entertaining.

hand-clickHelpful. Help users complete a task or guide them through the stages of a process (cooking a meal etc). Also, cater to your consumers’ needs even if this means not recommending your own product. Hellmann’s skill has a large database of recipes with and without mayo.

hand-clickKeep the conversation going. Find creative ways to keep talking to your consumers on other platforms (email, social media) and turn them into brand ambassadors.

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How to deal with decision-paralysis

As we’ve shown in a previous article, decision-paralysis is a real problem, both for personal and professional decisions, no matter their dimension. Therefore, we’ve considered it’s important to show what measures can be taken in order to diminish its effects and ease the decision-making.

Differentiate between big and small decisions

“If the decision isn’t going to make a big difference a year from now and there are no serious consequences that will come out of it, then it is a small decision. Spend as little time as you need to nail this. Then, let go. If the decision will create major impact after a year and there are serious implications from making the wrong choice (such as marrying someone you don’t love), then it’s a big decision. Set aside time to think over it. Read my guide How to Make Life’s Hardest Decisions,” wrote Celestine Chua of personalexcellence.co.

Spend time in knowing yourself as best as possible

Knowing who you truly are,your real passions and goals will help you take smarter and faster decisions. “Smooth decisions proceed from clear values whether you’re in the supermarket or the trenches of your small business. As Wise Bread’s Jacob McMillen has reminded readers in a recent blog post, <<the best decision makers don’t wait until the moment of decision to choose. Their choices come from a set of a predetermined core values that make the momentary decisions easy and consistent>>,” writes Inc.com.

Identify Your Objective(s) and decide according to it/ them

Set a deadline and stick to it

Having a timeline in mind can be a really good tool to help one stay on the right track and stop wasting valuable time.

Curb your curiosity

“One of the culprits contributing to analysis paralysis are details; specifically, the desire to excavate deeper and deeper every new detail that arrives on scene. To satiate the intellectual curiosity that yearns for more information (and therefore stalls progress), set yourself parameters for what you need to know (now) and what you’d like to know (in the future). If the information you have now answers the call, it’s time to move forward,” writes Forbes.

Assign valence to each alternative

“Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each alternatives.  For example, in the case of deciding which restaurant to go, we could have considered the quality of the food, the cost, , how nice the restaurant was in terms of décor, and the distance,”considers www.psychologymatters.asia.

Stop looking for perfect and try ok

Searching for the perfect product or the totally right decision may prove to be exhausting and challenging, creating more problems than resolving it. Something finding the next best thing is good enough when you’ve spent too much time stuck into a problem /situation / decision.

Look into the future

In a TED talk, Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert talks about a phenomenon he calls the “end of history illusion,” where we imagine that the person we are today is the person we’ll be until we die. But that’s not the case.

“The bottom line is, time is a powerful force. It transforms our preferences. It reshapes our values. It alters our personalities. We seem to appreciate this fact, but only in retrospect. Only when we look backwards do we realize how much change happens in a decade. It’s as if, for most of us, the present is a magic time. It’s a watershed on the timeline. It’s the moment at which we finally become ourselves. Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our life is change,”explains Gilbert.

Therefore, try to remember that you’re choosing not for the person you are now, but the person you will become in the future. Look at this moment from the future and forget what feels comfortable.

Simplify 

If the decision you are trying to make is so complex that you get stuck in analysis paralysis then if possible break your decision down into two or more simpler decision making tasks.

Empower decision-makers 

“If you’re a business owner, you can make any decision you want, but not every major decision choice should fall on your plate. If you task someone to do research or manage account communications, you have to empower him or her to make decisions without stopping to get your go-ahead. Otherwise, the process will take twice as long. Throwing someone at a project who doesn’t have the ability to make a decision just wastes everyone’s time,” wrote entrepreneur.com.

5 things you might not know about Julian Treasure

With regularly appearances in the world’s media (TIME Magazine, The Times, The Economist, BBC, etc), Julian Treasure is also famous for his books How to be Heard and Sound Business.

  1. His TED talks on conscious listening and powerful speaking have collectively been viewed almost 50 million times; they are respectively the 95th and 8th most-watched TED talks of all time. 

2. At the Sound Agency, him and his team help clients such as Harrods, Nokia, BP, Marks & Spencer, Helm Bank, Waldorf Astoria and many major shopping centers across Europe to grow their business by optimizing the sounds they make to increase sales, customer satisfaction, staff productivity and brand value. The agency specializes in creating effective and appropriate organic soundscapes for branded spaces.

3. He has a Bachelor degree in Economics, from the University of Cambridge, UK. 

4. Julian’s love of sound stems from his early experience as a musician. He was a drummer for British band The Transmitters, amongst many others, and played on their second Peel Session in 1981.

5. Before The Sound Agency, Julian spent 30 years working in advertising and publishing. He founded, grew and sold contract magazine publishing agency TPD. Nowadays, Julian splits his time between London and Orkney, where he lives with his fiancee and youngest daughter.

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