Brands that sell on Amazon will be able to provide answers to questions posed to Alexa, in order to encourage users to buy their products.
When you ask a question to Alexa, Amazon’s personal assistant, it generally provides a generic answer, based on information collected, among other things, on the web. But at the end of 2022, that may change and Alexa could push you to buy products. Indeed, Amazon has just announced during its Accelerate conference, dedicated to sellers, a new function called Customers ask Alexa (customers ask Alexa). If you ask a question, a brand that offers its products on the online sales site will be able to provide you with an answer and redirect you to one of its products.
Companies that are enrolled in the program Amazon Brand Registry will be able to see which questions are being asked of Alexa that may be relevant to them, as shown in the screenshot below:
They can choose to provide a response which will then be analyzed by Alexa’s moderation and quality control teams. Then Alexa will determine the most relevant answer based on the question. Note that the brand will not be able to pay Amazon for its answers to be used.
The e-commerce giant assumes that brands have the best expertise to answer questions about their products. This is no doubt true if a question is asked about a specific product. But the choice is more debatable on the question is more generic, for example “how to remove blood stains from clothing.” In this case, the answer of a stain removal expert, who recommends one of his products, risks taking precedence over a grandmother’s recipe.
The new function will be tested at the end of October in the United States with a limited number of brands, then generalized in 2023. We do not yet know when France will be affected. It will appear for customers in late 2022 in Amazon’s search bar, then expand to Echo devices in mid-2023. Here’s hoping a user who asks Alexa a question doesn’t end up bombarded with ads disguised as answers.